Californië heeft nu geen Clean Air

De Amerikaanse staat die er prat op gaat als eerste uitgebreide rookverboden te hebben geintroduceerd maakt er voor wat betreft de rest van de luchtkwaliteit een zooitje van.

Maar ja, meer dan de helft van de industrie is juist in die zones waar de luchtkwaliteit het allerbelabberst is. En als je dat te streng aanpakt kost het banen en geld. Aantoonbaar en niet te maskeren door junk science…..

Californië: Een grote bek tegen rokers, maar een klein hartje als het op de aanpak van de échte problemen aankomt..

EPA Says 474 Counties Fail Air Standards

Associated Press Writer

April 15, 2004, 7:02 PM EDT

WASHINGTON — Counties in 31 states are flunking air-quality standards, drawing a federal warning to clean up industrial plants, put new restrictions on cars and take other action to make their air less polluted.

Nearly 500 counties, mostly in California and the eastern third of the country, were cited Thursday as having too much smog-causing pollution in violation of the federal clean air law.

The Environmental Protection Agency told state and local officials to develop new pollution controls to reduce ground-level ozone, a precursor of smog. Some 159 million people, more than half the U.S. population, live in areas singled out by the government for contributing to unhealthy air.

Acting under court order, the EPA identified all or parts of 474 counties that either have air that is too dirty or have pollution that causes neighboring counties to fail the air quality test.

Despite having some of the toughest air pollution requirements, California still has the worst air, the EPA said.

The Los Angeles basin was designated as having severe air pollution, the only one in the category. The area has until 2021 to come into compliance with the federal standard.

Three California regions — Riverside County, San Joaquin Valley and Sacramento — were listed with serious pollution, the fourth-worst designation, and given until 2013 to curtail the pollution.

Other areas with marginal or moderate pollution problems have until either 2007 to 2010 to comply. Areas that continue to violate the standard could lose federal highway dollars.

Those areas include a ring of Great Lakes states and a concentration of Northeast states from the Washington area to Boston. Also failing the federal test were parts of eastern Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina, as well as Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.

The EPA said regions in noncompliance may have to impose new controls on industrial plants, restrict transportation and require tougher vehicle inspection programs. Some counties may have to require the use of special, cleaner-burning gasoline.

“Many communities will find it difficult to eventually meet such standards without jeopardizing local economic growth,” said Jeffrey Marks of the National Association of Manufacturers. He said more than half of the country’s manufacturing capacity is in areas that do not meet the air standards.

Some environmentalists and health advocates said the EPA, by extending compliance deadlines, was slowing improvements in air quality.

John L. Kirkwood, president of the American Lung Association, whose lawsuit triggered Thursday’s decisions, said the EPA was dropping “key counties in many areas where air quality is poor” and giving “too many communities a way to avoid or delay cleaning up the pollution their citizens must breathe.”

“It will be many years before these benefits are fully realized,” said Kirkwood.

The EPA has said it will act to reduce pollution from power plants. But in a companion regulation, the agency Thursday proposed new requirements to curtail pollution drifting from power plants and other industrial facilities. The proposal, resulting from a court order, is intended to cut haze in 156 parks and wilderness areas in 35 states.

EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt said he held dozens of private meetings with members of Congress, local officials, industry representatives and environmental and public health advocates, who argued either for or against being included in the list.

“This isn’t about the air getting dirtier. The air is getting cleaner,” said Leavitt. “These new rules are about our new understanding of health threats, about our standards getting tougher and our national resolve to meet them.”

The new standards were adopted in 1997 but delayed because of court challenges. They allow less ozone in the air and require monitoring of air quality over eight hours instead of one hour, because of concerns for children, the elderly and people with respiratory illnesses.

Leavitt said it would be unfair to say that dirty air is a national problem. “There may be a few areas where that phrase applies, but there aren’t many,” he said.

“We’re going to raise the bar for everybody — no exceptions,” he said at a news conference.

In 1991, under the older standard, the EPA designated 371 counties as having air with ozone. Some counties fixed the problem; others fell into noncompliance because of the tougher 1997 standards. Some 221 counties with 110 million people had been violating the one-hour standard, EPA officials said.

Leavitt said 2,668 counties met the standards. Also, 19 states had all counties in compliance: Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming.

The standards were delayed from taking effect for four years because of a lengthy court challenge by industry and states. They were upheld by the Supreme Court in February 2001. Environmental and public health groups sued to force government into action.

Copyright (c) 2004, The Associated Press

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