Tuesday, December 20, 2016

EPA Takes First (Cautious) Step to Crack Down on Smog from Big Trucks

The U.S. EPA today took a cautious first step to crack down on smog-forming emissions from big trucks.

The agency responded to a petition from the South Coast Air Quality Management District and a number of other state and local governments that have identified big diesel trucks as a major source of ozone-forming emissions.  These states and localities are begging EPA to set tougher standards to limit smog-forming nitrogen oxides emissions from new big trucks.

Here is EPA's notice and a little background EPA takes step to deal with big truck smog .

We applaud the EPA’s decision to move forward, and we encourage the new Trump administration to embrace this initiative as its own.  We have read comments from both the President-elect and his choice to head the EPA saying they want to focus on efforts to provide clean air.

Tougher truck pollution standards would do exactly that.  They would bring cleaner air and better health nationwide. Fewer NOx emissions would not only mean less smog but less fine-particle soot.  So, fewer asthma attacks, less premature death.

Big trucks are among the largest under-controlled sources of smog.  The EPA last set truck pollution standards when Bill Clinton was President. So it has literally been 16 years since standards have been tightened and technology has improved since then. 

We think an update of truck pollution standards is long overdue, particularly since big diesel trucks remain an important source of ozone.  As you probably know, some industries and states have complained about tougher national ozone air quality standards set last year.  New truck standards would be an important tool to help states either meet or make real progress towards meeting those critical health standards. 

It is regrettable that state and local governments had to push the EPA to do something it should have already done. 

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Scott Pruitt: Beware the Lessons of History — and Read up on Anne Gorsuch Burford

President-Elect Trump’s appointment of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency vividly brings back to mind an equally controversial EPA head from a different era.  

Thirty-five years ago, President Ronald Reagan appointed Anne Gorsuch to run the agency.  Like Trump, Reagan had inveighed against what he viewed as excessive federal regulation.  

''Government is not the solution to our problem,'' President Reagan told the nation in his first inaugural address.  ''Government is the problem.’'  And a prime target was the EPA, which, among other things, had set national smog standards detested by the oil industry.  

Enter Anne Gorsuch.