On Friday December 14th the White House stood up to industry and announced its plans to significantly tighten air pollution limits on soot from exhaust pipes and smokestacks. The rule is similar to the one that the EPA submitted for White House review in the summer. The EPA sent the final rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget on December 4th where it was quickly reviewed and approved.
In Friday’s announcement, EPA set a new annual air quality standard for soot — also known as fine particulate matter or “PM2.5” — at 12 micrograms per cubic meter. That’s significantly tighter than the standard of 15 that the agency had established during the Clinton administration, which EPA’s science advisers have called too weak, given recent studies, to prevent heart attacks, stroke, cardiac arrest, congestive heart failure and exacerbated symptoms of asthma and other respiratory problems.
Other research shows that “long-term PM2.5 exposures may be linked to cancer and to harmful developmental and reproductive effects, such as infant mortality and low birth weight,” EPA says.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that preventing health problems could save $5 billion a year.
Former Obama climate and energy adviser Carol Browner, who led EPA in the Clinton administration, said:
“The Obama administration should be commended for this work and encouraged to continue to fight for cleaner air with protections against carbon pollution from power plants.”
© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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