Posted on October 1, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Got smog? EPA wants to cut ozone, but will face a challenge on new standard.
Environmentalists say new rule is to weak; industry asks Congress to step into the fray
The EPA’s new smog-fighting ozone standard is likely headed down the same path as the agency’s other recent initiatives to improve the environment.
Like the recently updated wetlands rule and the Clean Power Plan, the new ozone limit was immediately criticized from all sides. Environmental advocates said the agency ignored its own experts when it set the new limit at 70 parts per billion. Industry claims the new rule will cut profits and cost jobs. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, Environment | Tagged: air quality, Environment, EPA, ozone, ozone standard, pollution, smog | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 30, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
More monitoring and data transparency required
Oil refineries will have to do a better job of limiting pollutants that cause cancer and respiratory ailments under updated EPA regulations that require fenceline monitoring and more transparent data on emissions.
The regulations cover controls for flares, pressure relief devices, storage tanks, and delayed coker operations. The EPA expects that the rule will result in a reduction of 5,200 tons per year of toxic air pollutants, and 50,000 tons per year of volatile organic compounds, chemical precursors to ozone.
The agency also estimates the new standards will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from refineries by about 660,000 tons per year at 150 refineries around the country with little impact to the cost of petroleum products. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, Environment | Tagged: air quality, Environment, EPA, new refinery regulations, oil refinieries, pollution | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 25, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Plumes of smoke and flames rise from an eruption at Bárðarbunga volcano, Iceland, in 2014. The amount of sulphur dioxide emitted in the six-month eruption was treble that given off by all of Europe’s industry. Credit Dr. John Stevenson
12,000 tons of sulphur dioxide per day …
Researchers in the UK have helped show how volcanoes can affect air quality by quantifying emissions from last year’s eruption of Iceland’s Bárðarbunga volcano.
“The eruption discharged lava at a rate of more than 200 cubic metres per second, which is equivalent to filling five Olympic-sized swimming pools in a minute,” said Dr Anja Schmidt from the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds, who led the study. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment | Tagged: air quality, Bárðarbunga, climate, Iceland, pollution, sulphur dioxide, volcanoes | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 19, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
This bug may be innocent, but recent VW diesels sold in the U.S. may be guilty of violating the Clean Air Act. @bberwyn photo.
EPA accuses automaker of using software trick to undermine emissions tests
Germany’s green reputation may be tarnished by one of its biggest automakers, as the EPA and the State of California are accusing the company of circumventing clean air regulations.
The EPA this week issued a formal notice of violation to Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. alleging that four-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars from model years 2009-2015 include software that circumvents EPA emissions standards for certain air pollutants.
Filed under: air quality, Environment | Tagged: air quality, air quality violations, emissions testing, EPA, Volkswagen, VW | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 1, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
High temperatures and a lack of rain spread serious drought conditions across Europe this summer.
Study tracks increase in extreme conditions
FRISCO — Scientists taking a close look at the last 50 years — the modern global warming era — found that droughts and heat waves are happening simultaneously much more frequently than in the past.
The climate experts at the University of California, Irvine analyzed data gathered from ground sensors and gauges since 1960 and crunched the numbers with a statistical model to track the upswing.
“Heat waves can kill people and crops while worsening air quality, and droughts exacerbate those serious impacts,” said senior author Amir AghaKouchak, assistant professor of civil & environmental engineering. “With these two extremes happening at the same time, the threat is far more significant.” Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Drought, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: air quality, climate change, drought, extreme weather, health, heatwaves | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 29, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Conservative majority ruling puts thousands of lives at risk
Mercury from the Craig Station power plant in northwest Colorado pollutes lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — The EPA will have to go back to the drawing board if it wants to regulate toxic mercury emissions from factories and power plants, as the U.S. Supreme Court today voided the agency’s 2012 regulations that were set to take effect this year.
In a divided five-four ruling, the court sided with heavy industry and fossil-fuel burning power plants, saying that the EPA should have considered the costs of the regulations as part of its initial evaluation. The EPA had argued that those costs would be evaluated at the next step of the regulatory process.
Mercury is a global pollutant that has been detected in California’s coastal fogs. In a national assessment, the U.S. Geological Survey found unhealthy mercury levels in 25 percent of all U.S. Streams. And near Hawaii, scientists say mercury concentrations in yellowfin tuna have been increasing 3.8 percent a year. Researchers have even documented signs of environmental stress in Alaskan sled dogs who primarily eat mercury tainted fish. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, Environment | Tagged: air pollution, air quality, Environment, EPA mercury standards, mercury pollution, Supreme Court of the United States | 3 Comments »
Posted on June 26, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
New pollution controls will cut emissions at the Four Corners power plant.
Settlement includes requirements for regional public health and environmental mitigation projects
FRISCO — One of the dirtiest coal-burning power plants in the country will be required to upgrade pollution controls, cutting thousands of tons of harmful sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions.
The $160 million cleanup at the Four Corners Power Plant, located on the Navajo Nation near Shiprock, New Mexico, comes under a court-ordered Clean Air Act settlement between the EPA and several Arizona and New Mexico-based utility companies.
The total combined emission reductions secured from the settlement will exceed 2 million tons each year, once all the required pollution controls are installed and implemented. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, energy, Environment | Tagged: air pollution, air quality, coal, Environment, Four Corners air quality, Four Corners Power Plant, Navajo Nation, Nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide | 2 Comments »