Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new smog pollution proposal to lower the current 75 parts per billion (ppb) standard to one in the range of 65 ppb to 70 ppb, while also seeking comment on setting it as low as 60 ppb. The standard was last updated in 2008 when the Bush administration rejected the recommendations of expert scientists and medical health professionals, who warned 75 ppb was insufficient to protect public health and would leave too many Americans in harm’s way.
[Original post: Logan Layden, State Impact Oklahoma, Nov. 24, 2014]
Oklahoma’s largest utility companies will spend more than $1 billion to upgrade coal-fired power plants or retire them in favor of natural gas, all to comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Regional Haze Rule, which is meant to improve visibility at national parks and wildlife refuges.
If you live in San Antonio, you may have caught KENS 5's great investigative report by Barry Davis on toxic air from fracking operations last week, "TCEQ Memo Proves Toxic Chemicals Are Being Released in the Eagle Ford Shale." Our own Neil Carman, Clean Air Director, was interviewed for this piece that everyone concerned about fracking should see.
As a kid, I remember ozone being a good thing. There was a layer of it in the stratosphere that protected us from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, but it was being destroyed by our use of chlorofluorocarbons like those found in aerosol sprays (remember aerosol deodorants?). But ozone*, a molecule of three oxygen atoms, is quite harmful to humans at ground level, which is why the Clean Air Act requires the EPA to set limits on it.
One of the most persistent and pervasive public health threats from air pollution, particularly for children in urban communities, is ozone (aka “smog”) because ozone is the prime ingredient with other noxious chemicals. Ozone is one of the leading causes of asthma and other respiratory distress, with both short and long term health problems from breathing unhealthy air at concentrations as low as 40 to 60 parts per billion (ppb). Yet some of our communities in Texas get smog pollution over 100 ppb – nearly twice the levels deemed safe by medical experts.
By Sarah Sharif: I recently travelled to Washington, DC, along with volunteers from Arkansas and Texas to pay a visit to Janet McCabe, Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) headquarters. We met with her and her staff on November 26 to discuss the importance of a strong haze rule to protect our national parks and refuges and to submit 9,000 locals voicing their concern.
The Energy Storage Association (ESA) is hosting the first ever Texas Energy Storage Summit, in Austin, TX on December 5, 2014. This unique one-day summit brings together stakeholders from across Texas and around the country to meet for an informative and collaborative event that brings and in-depth focus on the opportunities and markets available in Texas and the ERCOT system. Attendees will have the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with Texas and ERCOT regulators, as well as utility partners and customers, to gain a full understanding of this market opportunity and what lies ahead for storage in the state.