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----- Original Message -----
From: Michael Meuser <>
To: <>
Sent: Saturday, October 20, 2001 8:04 AM
Subject: [Stop the Poisons] Air Quality Trends: What EPA Didn't Tell You

> Source:
> (Recall that it was the National Governor's Ass'n that pressured
> Carol Browner into shelving the Cumulative Exposure Project)
> OCTOBER 19, 2001 12:26 PM
>  CONTACT:  Clean Air Trust
> Frank O'Donnell 202-785-9625 
> Air Quality Trends: What EPA Didn't Tell You
> WASHINGTON - October 19 - Memo To Reporters Covering The
> Environment 
> We were intrigued at the news release issued late yesterday by
> the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding air quality
> trends in the nation (see and note news
> releases for Oct. 18). So we read the actual report and related
> background material. Here are a few things the EPA didn't tell you: 
> -- In the release, EPA Administrator Christie Whitman hailed a
> recent National Governors Association (NGA) policy as a
> "remarkable step forward" toward addressing pollution from electric
> power plants. This is unfortunate and misleading propaganda. In
> fact, during its recent annual meeting, NGA adopted a policy
> similar to that of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI): it urged
> changes in EPA's "new source review" program to promote "fuel
> diversity," which is code language for increased coal burning. NGA
> also mimicked EEI rhetoric by calling for "regulatory certainty" and
> a "flexible, market-based program." Again, like EEI, the governors
> opposed any mandatory reductions of the heat-trapping gas carbon
> dioxide. It's no wonder, by the way, that NGA came up with such a
> blatantly pro-industry approach. The policy was developed behind
> closed doors without input from the general public. 
> -- Despite progress in reducing pollution, EPA's press release
> neglected to mention that more than 121 million people were still
> living in areas that violated basic public health standards in 2000. In
> a footnote to its report, EPA noted that "this number may increase"
> as new monitors go up to track fine particulate soot. These
> sobering statistics dramatically underscore the continuing need for
> enforceable programs to protect air quality at the state and local
> level. Unfortunately, EPA's Whitman has said that she, like
> industry, would like to scuttle many of those programs, including
> new source review. 
> -- EPA's release failed to note that smog-and-soot-forming nitrogen
> oxides emissions actually increased by three percent during the
> past decade. This is mainly due to increased emissions from
> diesel trucks and buses and from so-called "nonroad" diesel
> engines, including construction equipment. The pollution increase
> underscores the need to press ahead with efforts to clean up diesel
> trucks and highway diesel fuel (the oil industry is suing to block
> EPA's cleanup plan) as well as for EPA to initiate a bold new
> initiative to clean up nonroad diesel engines and diesel fuel. 
> -- EPA's release failed to note the shocking fact that during the
> past decade, smog levels rose in 29 of our national parks, including
> "significant upward trends" in the Great Smoky Mountains, the
> Everglades, Yellowstone, Yosemite and Canyonlands, among
> others. The fine print of EPA's report also suggests that visibility is
> becoming worse at western national parks. These statistics
> underscore the need to move forward with tough "regional haze"
> rules, which Whitman has said she would like to eliminate, as well
> as to maintain new source review requirements. 
> -- EPA failed to note that a recent National Academy of Sciences
> report found that mercury exposure may cause neurological
> problems in 60,000 children born in the U.S. each year. Or that 40
> states have issued fish consumption warnings because of mercury.
> Or that electric power plants are the biggest source of mercury.
> EPA has discussed eliminating upcoming EPA "toxic" air pollutant
> rules on mercury in favor of a system that would allow utilities to
> buy and sell toxic mercury "credits." 
> -- EPA's release also failed to note that greenhouse gas emissions
> in the U.S. rose 11 percent between 1990 and 1998. Electric utility
> emissions went up even more. Obviously, the "voluntary" reduction
> efforts touted in EPA's press release aren't doing the job. 
>                                                ###
> +++++++++++++++++++++
> Michael R. Meuser,
> Environmental & Social Cartography, WebMaps
> Environmental Justice, Right-to-Know Advocacy
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