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Biden's Clean-Air, Climate Actions Seen as Benefit for PA

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The administration wants to review the Trump EPA's weakening of vehicle-emission standards. (Nady/Adobe Stock)
The administration wants to review the Trump EPA's weakening of vehicle-emission standards. (Nady/Adobe Stock)
 By Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA - Producer, Contact
January 25, 2021

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Environmental advocates say President Joe Biden's actions on clean air and climate will make a big difference for air quality in the Keystone State.

The executive orders signed by the president on his first day in office will start reversing some of the most aggressive moves by the Trump administration to weaken or eliminate clean-air and climate-protection regulations.

Joe Minott, executive director and chief counsel for the Clean Air Council, said that's welcome news for areas such as Pittsburgh, which are consistently on the American Lung Association's list of cities with the worst, year-round air pollution.

"We're going to see a tightening of some of the pollution standards that will be allowed," Minott observed. "And I think we may see better enforcement of environmental laws in general."

While some Republicans are calling for Senate review of Biden's order rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, Minott noted both major parties generally are in agreement on environmental issues.

"The new normal is coming back, where the Environmental Protection Agency is in fact going to protect the environment, which means protecting public health, and I think that's a great thing," Minott commented.

He pointed out many of the environmental regulations weakened by the Trump administration also are being restored by the courts.

Last week, a federal court overturned the Trump EPA's replacement for the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan. Minott believes the trend will continue.

"I think that we will see a resurgence of regulations at the federal level to deal with mercury from power plants, greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants, and that is absolutely needed," Minott contended.

He added because regulations such as auto-emission standards had been rolled back, new regulations will have to be even tighter to meet clean air goals, but the technology to do it is there.

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