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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

WY awaits EPA decision on updated haze plan

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Friday, May 31, 2024   

Wyoming is one of several states currently updating its plan to address regional haze, but local environmental groups say its plan isn't enough.

More than two decades ago, the Environmental Protection Agency created the Regional Haze Rule to improve air quality in designated areas including national parks by reducing haze, or the cocktail of air pollution that limits visibility. Poor air quality has reduced average visibility in the West by up to 100 miles, according to the EPA, and the effects of that pollution can be far from its sources.

Shannon Anderson, staff attorney for the Powder River Basin Resource Council, said Wyoming's coal plants are big polluters.

"And a lot of these coal plants operate uncontrolled for pollution that impacts public health," she said, "in addition to impacting national parks."

Wyoming is in EPA Region 8, where 75% of haze pollution comes from fossil-fuel power generation, according to the National Parks Conservation Association. It's also where seven of the country's top 50 biggest haze polluters are located. The Jim Bridger coal plant in Sweetwater County, the third highest polluter, released a plan last month to extend its operations until 2039.

Rob Joyce, director of the Wyoming chapter of the Sierra Club, said he's advocating for the EPA to give the Regional Haze Rule more teeth.

"If the market changes in a couple of years, or if politics change," he said, "I wouldn't be so sure that what's in the plan today is going to be in the plan tomorrow."

The EPA is expected to make a decision on Wyoming's proposal this summer.

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


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