Written by Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator 31st District
Monday, 27 March 2017 13:00
http://newiprogressive.com/images/stories/S5/paul-ryan-sad-s5.jpgWhile Congress did not repeal the Affordable Care Act, problems remain. Sen. Vinehout writes about options states could take to address some of these issues and provide affordable health insurance for people.
Federal Court rules EPA failed to update hazardous air pollution rules.
MADISON, WI — A federal judged on Tuesday ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review health standards for hazardous air pollutants from 13 types of industrial sources, including tire, plywood, fiberglass, and other facilities.
Clean Wisconsin and three other environmental groups sued the EPA in 2016 for missing legally required deadlines to protect public health from toxic air pollution. To protect public health and safety, the Clean Air Act requires EPA to regularly review the health and environmental hazards faced by people who live near major industrial sources. The agency also has a duty to review the latest best available pollution control technologies. EPA is years overdue in fulfilling its legal duty to protect people from industrial sources of toxic air pollution.
“We have a fundamental right to breathe clean air, but people throughout Wisconsin are being denied that right every day because industrial facilities are releasing toxic chemicals into the air,” said Katie Nekola, general counsel for Clean Wisconsin. “We have at least 35 industrial facilities that crank out toxic air pollutants across the state.”
Clean Wisconsin, Blue Ridge Environmental Council, Sierra Club and Midwest Environmental Defense Center filed lawsuit Washington, D.C. in February 2016 on behalf of communities exposed to toxic emissions. The plaintiffs asked the court to ensure EPA completes rulemaking to strengthen national health protections which are especially needed to protect people in Wisconsin.
“We know air pollution kills by causing cancer and a range of other health problems. Yet major polluters have for years avoided reducing air pollution to protect public health, even though effective controls are readily available and in use in other places,” Nekola said. “That’s why we are working to ensure the Clean Air Act gives children in our communities the protection they deserve.