About Air and Water

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Good news and dubious developments from EPA

By Faith Chatham, DFWRCC, Aug. 16, 2012

Today in the Federal Register new rules for Natural Gas production and transmission were published by the Environmental Protection Agency. The NSPS/ NESHAP for Oil &; Gas Sector published today are in the most part good news for the health of citizens in the Barnett Shale and other oil and gas patch environments.

I am writing this from the EPA public hearing on proposed roll-back of standards for cement kilh production and proposals to delay implementation of stronger standards upheld by the Federal District Court. This is probably the first that many of you have heard of these hearings. Unless you were on the mailing list of an environmental group, you probably did not get a notice of the public hearings. The EPA only gave 2 weeks notice and named only one hearing site in the United States. For me that was good news. The site is the Arlington City Hall a few blocks from my home. I admire people from Kansas and Maryland and North Carolina who came to this hearing. The number of people on portable oxygen, with inhalers, and medical reports on environmentally excaberated asthma and COPD seemed to outnumber the persons without such conditions.

With the exception of a few cement industry spokespersons, every speaker urged the Environmental Protection Agency to implement the stricter standards proposed in their 2010 guidelines and to not delay implementation. Citizens who have "worked on" cement kilh emission issues for decades, and who are savvy enough to understand that this is settled science and no new findings prompted these proposals to set aside the stricter guidelines are perplexed at the EPA calling these hearings and proposing rollling back these standards.

If you wish to submit statements by Sept. 17, 2012 on the cement kihl emission standards, you can send them by e-mail to:
a-and-r-Docket@epa.gov, Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2011-0817 or fax your comments to:
202-566-1741, Attention Docket ID. No. HQ-OAR-2011-0817

The proposed changes to the 2012 Published rules would "extend the compliance date for existing kilns under the air toxics standards for two more years from September 2013 to September 2015. Hearings and studies and court cases on these emissions have been in progress for over 20 years. The 2010 published standards (which the industry is pressuring the EPA to roll-back) are based on "SETTLED SCIENCE."  The technology has not changed and the health consequences documented for decades demonstrate the need for compliance and timely enforcement. The proposed changes will increase the emissions from the cement plants significantly and delay implementation If you care about your breath and your family's health, join with those who testified in person today and urge the EPA to enact the 2010 published standards without further delay.

EPA website on Proposed Changes to Portland Cement Standards.


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