Thursday, March 23, 2023

Play

A proposed flavored tobacco ban is back on the table in Minnesota, Trump attorney Evan Corcoran must testify in the documents probe, and a "clean slate" bill in Missouri would make "expungement" automatic.

Play

The Fed raises interest rates and reassures the banking system is sound, Norfolk Southern reaffirms a commitment to the people of East Palestine, and TikTok creators gather at the Capitol to support free expression.

Play

Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

New EPA Rules for "Soot" Pollution Could Improve Air for Texans

Play

Friday, March 3, 2023   

Most Texans take breathing for granted - unless the air is polluted. It's a health issue the Biden administration hopes to mitigate through new restrictions on one of the deadliest air pollutants - soot.

The Environmental Protection Agency wants to tighten national air-quality standards for soot - also known as fine particulate pollution - which haven't been updated since 2012.

Texas is among the top five states for soot pollution, but Elena Craft, senior director, Climate and Health at the Environmental Defense Fund, said a national solution is needed.

"It really impacts every community across the country," she said. "It is harmful because of its contribution to heart ailments, lung disease, asthma attacks - even cancer."

The EPA's rule would reduce the limit on industrial fine soot particles from an annual average of 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air to between nine and 10 micrograms. Public feedback on the proposed new rules is being accepted through March 28.

Soot pollution comes from power plants, vehicles and refineries, and Craft said it's more concentrated in certain parts of Texas than others.

"Houston, Dallas, El Paso - you do see higher ambient concentrations of particulate matter in some of the larger metropolitan areas, for sure," she said, "and also in some of the industrial areas - so, along the ship channel and the Gulf Coast."

Craft said there are also disparities as to who is most affected by soot pollution - with communities of color more likely to live near industrial facilities, railyards and other polluting facilities. She said it's also an issue for children.

"They breathe more air per pound of body weight than an adult," she said, "and so they are at higher risk, as well as the elderly."

According to Craft, the new standards proposed by the EPA are a welcome improvement, but the Environmental Defense Fund would like to see even stricter rules. The standards are expected to be finalized this summer.

Disclosure: Environmental Defense Fund contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment, Public Lands/Wilderness. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
In 2020, 35% of Idaho mothers had Medicaid at the time of their child's birth. (WavebreakMediaMicro/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

With concerning trends emerging for pregnant and postpartum women, frustration is growing that Idaho lawmakers could end the session without …


Health and Wellness

Health advocates are promoting a package of bills this legislative session to make health care easier to get - and more affordable. The Care 4 All …

Social Issues

A new study from the University of New Hampshire found New England's LGBTQ+ residents experience higher rates of food insufficiency, the measure of …


According to the Center for American Progress, nearly nine in 10 employers, four in five landlords, and three in five colleges use background checks to screen for applicants' criminal records. (Yurii Kibalnik/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

A large percentage of Missourians who could to have their criminal records "expunged" have not done so, despite the effects expungement -- referred …

Social Issues

A person's work personnel file can be important to review, but some Washingtonians are finding them hard to obtain. A bill in Olympia would ensure …

The most recent Farm Bill covered areas such as agricultural conservation, trade and foreign food assistance, farm credit and research. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

The U.S. Farm Bill is up for reauthorization, and Congress faces calls to avoid any delays so certain programs can keep helping farmers and consumers …

Social Issues

Youth advocates continue to sound the alarm over the impact flavored tobacco products have on teenagers, and hope Minnesota lawmakers take another …

Environment

As wildfire seasons in Colorado and across the American West become longer, less predictable and increasingly destructive, a new report aims to …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021