|Mar. 11, 2015|
EU submits climate plan to UN
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The European Council on Friday approved the European Union's domestic climate change plan and sent it to the United Nations — a key milestone as crucial December negotiations in Paris approach.
Under the EU's five-page plan — known in U.N. parlance as an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution — members of the bloc committed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2030. The target itself was proposed last year, but is now being formally transmitted to the U.N. for the first time.
Countries have agreed to attempt to formally submit their INDCs by the end of March. The domestic plans will form the building blocks of the post-2020 international climate change agreement, which nations hope to finalize in Paris later this year.More
Title V Webinar Series: March 17-19
This webinar series is for new and experienced environmental professionals interested in learning how to manage the impact of Clean Air Act Title V operating permits, streamline monitoring and standardize permits across jurisdictions. It provides strategies on how to ensure compliance while minimizing operational intrusions required by Title V permits.
Example permit conditions are discussed to illustrate how agencies and companies have approached compliance demonstration requirements. Information on when to reopen a permit and the modification process will be provided.
Webinar attendees will learn about:
Study: Children's lung health improves as air pollution is reduced
The New York Times
For the first time, researchers have shown that reducing air pollution leads to improved respiratory function in children ages 11 to 15, a critical period of lung development. Scientists have long known that air pollution is linked to smaller lung capacity and compromised breathing in children. But it had not been clear whether, and to what extent, a reduction in air pollution over the years might prevent these problems.More
HHRA Research Program Update: March 2015
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Here is the latest news from the EPA's Human Health Risk Assessment Research Program. More
EPA tightens rules on wood-burning stoves
The Associated Press via The Spokesman-Review
Smoke wafting from wood fires has long provided a familiar winter smell in many parts of the country — and, in some cases, a foggy haze that has filled people's lungs with fine particles that can cause coughing and wheezing. Citing health concerns, the Environmental Protection Agency now is pressing ahead with regulations to significantly limit the pollution from newly manufactured residential wood heaters. But some of the states with the most wood smoke are refusing to go along, claiming that the EPA's new rules could leave low-income residents in the cold.More
Udall, Vitter offer up TSCA compromise
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Sens. Tom Udall and David Vitter have introduced their compromise on updating the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, with seven Democrats and seven Republicans as cosponsors.
Vitter told reporters that the list of original cosponsors is "a very strong statement in terms of our ability to move forward and pass this legislation," he said, adding that he is "very confident" the bill could get more than 60 Senate votes and majority support in the House.
Udall called it a "good solid bipartisan bill" that involved input from EPA, trial lawyers, chemical companies and public health and environmental groups.More
Michigan's tactics for cutting air pollution under fire
The Detroit News
Janice Rogers' home sits about 2,500 feet away from Belanger Park, an environmental problem area that got Michigan in trouble with federal environmental regulators. Air quality testing in 2010 showed sulfur dioxide levels were high enough to put the area out of compliance with new federal standards, forcing the state to take corrective action. Sulfur dioxide is a gas produced by the burning of fossil fuels and through other large industrial processes; it has been linked to human respiratory illnesses.More
Arkansas joining states challenging EPA on emissions
Arkansas has been allowed to intervene in a lawsuit challenging a proposed Environmental Protection Agency rule limiting carbon emissions nationwide, state Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced Monday. The case is being heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. It stems from a proposed rule, 111(d), from the agency that requires a 30 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions across the nation by 2030.More
EPA begins testing air in homes near South Bay Superfund sites
Los Angeles Times
Nearly 15 years after crews dug up and replaced contaminated soil from Cynthia Medina's frontyard, federal officials have placed dart-sized air quality samplers in her South Bay home. The tests will reveal whether dangerous vapors are seeping inside from polluted groundwater below her house. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last month began testing the air inside dozens of homes near two of the nation's worst chemical dumping sites for trichloroethylene, benzene and chlorobenzene. They were prompted by worries that, through a process known as vapor intrusion, the pollutants could be evaporating through the soil and into homes and putting residents at risk. More
Environmentalists: Air pollution could get Netherlands fined by EU
The high level of air pollution in the Netherlands could lead to large fines from the European Union. This is according to Milieu Defensie (Environment Defense), based on nitrogen dioxide measurements made on 58 main roads. This is the first years that the entire Netherlands has to meet the European standard for the concentration of nitrogen dioxide in the air.More