5 countries now on notice face potential legal action
By Bob Berwyn
Five large EU countries are on warning after repeatedly failing to meet air pollution standards for nitrogen oxide, a precursor to smog and a serious health risk in and of itself. If Member States fail to act within two months, the Commission may decide to take the matter to the Court of Justice of the EU.
Studies have shown that more than 400,000 people die prematurely each year due to poor air quality, while millions more suffer from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Persistently high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) caused almost 70 000 premature deaths in Europe in 2013, which was almost three times the number of deaths by road traffic accidents in the same year.
Because of the persistent breaches, the European Commission this week sent final warning to Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom, urging those countries to improve air quality and safeguard public health.
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.
Depositions already exceeding critical thresholds in some parks
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — From the high country of the Pacific Northwest to the hardwood forests of New England, airborne deposition of ammonia and nitrogen are already taking a toll on national parks.
In Great Smoky Mountain National Park, for example, the amount of nitrogen being deposited per hectare already far exceeds the threshold that causes damage, according to a study led by Harvard University scientists.
Tree chemicals combine with nitrogen oxides to form potentially dangerous particulates
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — President Ronald Reagan might have been on to something when he infamously claimed that trees cause pollution. While he was widely ridiculed for his statement, scientists later confirmed that a certain chemical emitted by trees also contributes to the production of particulate matter in the atmosphere.