Culture

The EPA Is Rolling Back A Decades-Old Policy On ‘Major Sources’ Of Pollution

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Between the Trump administration allowing restaurant owners to take their employees’ tips and repealing net neutrality, it’s been inordinately focused on getting rid of “old” regulations that include guidelines on fining nursing homes that commit elder abuse. However, no cabinet department has been as active in getting rid of regulations than the Environmental Protection Agency, which has been rolling back regulations and ignoring evidence of climate change at a rapid clip since administrator Scott Pruitt was confirmed by the Senate.

In its latest piece of cutting, the agency is withdrawing a decades-old policy that targets the largest sources of hazardous pollution like mercury and lead. Under the new policy, factories and other sites that were classified as “major sources” of hazardous air pollution would no longer be permanently labeled as such, freeing them from heavy regulations if improvements are made.

This was one of the agency’s bedrock policies (that survived a previous attempt at elimination by George W. Bush’s administration), which prevented polluters from trimming back to barely go below the “major source” threshold and avoid other emissions requirements. Yet the EPA said the change “will reduce regulatory burden for industries and the states, while continuing to ensure stringent and effective controls on hazardous air pollutants.”

However, the EPA’s new policy “drastically weakens protective limits on air pollutants … that cause cancer, brain damage, infertility, developmental problems and even death,” John Walke, the Natural Resources Defense Council’s clean air director, told the Wall Street Journal. “And those harmed most would be nearby communities already suffering a legacy of pollution.”

(Via Wall Street Journal)

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