Air Pollution

She blinded them with science

The NC GOP doesn't like science. It tells them that man-made climate change is causing sea level rise, so they outlaw the use of scientific projections of sea level rise.

Now, after science tells them that reducing air pollution save lives, they want to stop monitoring air pollution.

Stronger emission controls in North Carolina may have saved lives by reducing deaths from respiratory illness, according to an academic study published Monday.

DENR "baffled" by Republicans' removal of air quality monitors

And so are all the rest of us:

Ignorance is bliss, until you choke on it. In 2012, North Carolina’s legislature was the butt of jokes nationally as it considered legislation that would have, essentially, outlawed the rising of the oceans. Now the honorables in Raleigh are going down a similar path, again hoping that if they cover their eyes and ears they can make unpleasant things – like polluted air – go away.

Tucked inside a 65-page bill called the Regulatory Reform Act (Senate Bill 734) is one sentence that requires the state to eliminate the majority of its 132 air-quality monitors. A DENR spokesman says the department is “baffled” by the legislation.

The monitors provide valuable data about a region’s air quality and help regulators predict where problems will worsen. And the legislature’s move comes just as the EPA announces stricter emissions standards, precisely the wrong time to do it.

And with that last observation the author has likely hit on the key reason for removing the monitors. The EPA relies on state agencies to both implement and monitor compliance of Federal rules, and the current General Assembly is doing everything it can to sever that critical relationship. Without the monitors, the EPA's hands are tied to a certain extent, and the health of North Carolinians is not nearly as important as thumbing their nose at the feds.

Supremes let North Carolinians breathe easier

The Supreme Court (with the predictable exceptions of Crazy Clarence & Screwball Scalia [and Alito, who recused himself]) sided with the Obama administration, upholding the EPA's rules to prevent cross-state pollution; that is, air pollution (significantly from coal-fired power plants) generated in one state that blows downwind into another state.

The Supreme Court handed the Obama administration yet another major win for its environmental agenda on Tuesday, upholding an EPA rule aimed at preventing some states from polluting their downwind neighbors with harmful emissions from sources like coal-burning power plants.

The 6-2 decision overturns a lower court’s judgment that the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule overstepped the agency’s Clean Air Act authority. The rule’s opponents included utilities, industry groups and “upwind” states like Texas, Virginia and Ohio.

The NC GOP's assault on environmental regulations continues

Stripping away NC's Air Toxics program:

The state Environmental Management Commission recently approved changes to North Carolina’s rules for controlling toxic air pollution, in an effort to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens and improve government efficiency while maintaining protections for public health.

The legislatively mandated rule changes would exempt most facilities from state air toxics rules if they comply with federal rules for controlling hazardous air pollutants, unless the DAQ director determines that their emissions pose unacceptable health risks. The changes developed by DAQ alter some of the minimum requirements for facilities needing toxics evaluations and would exempt certain natural gas/propane combustion sources and emergency generators from the state rules.

For all you grassroots Democrats and establishment Dems out there arguing about who is using what rooms in Goodwin House, the secret weapon for winning elections in November is right here in front of your faces. Republicans have endangered the health of North Carolinians for a couple of years now, and the evidence is overwhelming. GOTV begins yesterday.

Solar vs NIMBY: a foolish conflict

Not unlike the old fear of taking a bath:

Several hundred residents plan to pack a public hearing Monday to voice their objections to a proposed 36-acre solar farm near affluent subdivisions in eastern Lincoln County at Lake Norman.

Homes worth a total of $400 million surround the site, opponent George Arena, a former Lincoln County commissioner, has said. Soybeans are now grown on the 36-acre site where Strata Solar hopes to build the farm. Webbs Road leads to pricey Sailview, the lake community where Arena lives, and to Governor’s Island, one of the lake’s most exclusive developments.

The irony of this opposition is: Lake Norman was not created as a recreational spot, it was formed to (among other things) provide water for the Marshall Steam Station, a coal-burning power plant which has caused at least 130 deaths and over a billion dollars in health care costs, due to particulate air pollution. And the pricey Sailview community gets more than just a whiff of that pollution. But setting aside the toxic and noxious elements of this story, there are some interesting private property issues you won't find unless you go hyperlocal:

Public hearing on Titan Cement's air quality permit

The five-year battle continues:

Monday’s hearing—to be held at 6 p.m. at Kenan Auditorium, on the campus of UNCW—will decide whether Titan is awarded an extension to meet revised guidelines that dictate how emissions from such plants are monitored. According to a notice of the hearing, which is being conducted by the N.C. Division of Air Quality, those revisions would allow Titan to increase the plant’s annual emissions of fine particles by 22 tons per year and coarse particles by 10 tons per year.

While this article does give a nod to the StopTitan network, the bulk of the piece appears to be an interview with Bob Odom. As such, there is no mention of the SLAPP suits that were filed against a couple of concerned citizens, making these statements disingenuous at best:

American factory raises stink in Europe

And that is not a play on words:

The leak occurred on Monday morning at a Lubrizol France plant near Rouen, 120 km (75 miles) northwest of Paris, and winds blew the invisible gas cloud south over northern France on Monday night and then up into England on Tuesday. Ohio-based Lubrizol, founded in 1928 and part of U.S. conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc since 2011, has production facilities in some 19 countries.

Good ol' American ingenuity, bringing an enhanced quality of life to peoples around the globe...

NC GOP begins systematic dismantling of NC's air toxics program

What a wise man builds, an ignorant man can tear down:

The North Carolina legislature this year exempted pollution sources from state oversight if they are also covered by federal rules and don’t pose an “unacceptable risk” to human health. Among the recommendations are setting looser screening thresholds for facilities that release pollutants directly upward, a change that would apply to about one-third of all facilities.

Because if it goes directly upwards, it can't hurt us, right? Fucking idiots. More philosophy: A civilization guided by those who are most lacking in wisdom is doomed to failure.

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