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Pollution

  • EPA invests in air pollution strategies in New Jersey and New York

    The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will spend $2.7 million to reduce air pollution from diesel engines in New Jersey and New York. EPA officials are targeting solutions to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter and improve air quality in both states.

    By helping two organizations replace several diesel engines, EPA administrators could eliminate the emissions of pollutants that are linked to health problems such as asthma and heart disease. While diesel engines are durable, older models predate stricter air pollution standards. However, the EPA's investment may reduce air pollution from some of the more than 11 million older diesel engines that are still in use.

    "Older diesel engines generate significant amounts of air pollution that can make people sick," EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck said. "Replacing old polluting diesel engines reduces asthma attacks and other respiratory ailments."

    With an air purifier like the IQAir® GC MultiGas, commercial and residential property owners can enjoy high-end particulate contaminant control. The air purifier provides maximum molecular filtration for a wide variety of gaseous chemicals and odors and features an advanced filter cartridge design.

  • Air quality in Alabama is improving

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that air quality is getting better in Birmingham, Alabama. According to The Associated Press, EPA officials noted that air conditions in Birmingham and its surrounding areas are improving, thanks in part to state administrators' increased focus on eliminating pollution concerns.

    Several Alabama departments were required to enhance air quality that was compromised due to pollution issues that have affected local citizens for the past 30 years. The news source states that car exhaust, industrial emissions and soot from coal-fired power plants were among the problems that added particulate matter to the air. However, state officials have improved emissions and pollution enforcement to ensure that the area fully complies with federal regulations.

    EPA representatives said that three Alabama counties now meet various primary air quality standards. State administrators noted that they anticipate air quality levels will continue to improve as they search for new ways to lower pollution levels throughout the area.

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  • Colorado officials to evaluate air pollution from gas and oil companies

    In January 2013, Colorado administrators announced that they will launch a three-year evaluation of air pollution from local gas and oil activity. According to the Denver Business Journal, the study will examine the health effects of air pollution from gas and oil companies across the state, especially firms located on the northern Front Range.

    Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said that the state will spend $1.3 million to complete the study. Additionally, government officials noted that some of the evaluation resources would come from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Environmental Response Fund, which is managed by the gas and oil industry.

    Dr. Chris Urbina, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, stated that the study could significantly help business owners and residents throughout the state.

    "We are working with all stakeholders to find the careful balance that protects the public and addresses legitimate concerns while ensuring that the oil and gas resources necessary to our economy can be safely developed," Urbina told the news source.

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  • Minnesota company penalized for emitting hazardous pollutants

    Superior Industries, a Minnesota company that specializes in the development and manufacturing of conveyor systems and components, received $20,000 in fines due to several pollution issues. According to the Star Tribune, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency penalized the company for hazardous pollution emissions between 2001 and 2011

    The business consistently exceeded the amount of dangerous organic compounds it was allowed to produce under its permit. Company officials told the agency about its hazardous pollution emissions in December 2010, but continued their actions through January 2011.

    Agency officials found that many of the compounds produced by Superior Industries were carcinogens that could cause serious health problems. Additionally, agency leaders discovered that the firm had an emergency generator that was not listed on its inventory, and control equipment had not been properly installed on sandblasting machines.

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  • Minnesota officials control air pollution

    Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) administrators effectively managed numerous air pollutants over the past two years. According to Minnesota Public Radio News, these officials improved air quality in the Twin Cities by focusing on fine particle pollution.

    Recent MPCA data showed that the Twin Cities area averages roughly 10 air quality alerts in most years. However, there were only four such alerts in both 2011 and 2012.

    Air quality warnings are issued if pollutant levels are unhealthy for certain groups, including people who have respiratory problems. MPCA official Rich Strassman said that the recent reduction in the number of warnings is a positive sign for the state, but noted that the weather also impacted the agency's calculations.

    "We can probably attribute it to some fairly active weather in 2012, where the concentrations just didn't accumulate over multiple days like we've seen in the past," Strassman told the news source.

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  • Illinois official sues publishing firm due to air pollution concerns

    Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is attempting to reduce air pollution by examining the conditions surrounding a local printing plant. According to the Chicago Tribune, Madigan filed a lawsuit against Lake Book Manufacturing Inc. after the company installed 10 printing presses without construction permits.

    The printing presses are capable of emitting air pollutants, and Lake Book Manufacturing could be penalized up to $50,000 for each violation and an extra $10,000 for every day it illegally operated the units. Lake Book Manufacturing's printing machines could produce more than 25 tons of volatile organic materials per year.

    Madigan said that Lake Book Manufacturing did not submit annual emissions reports to the state's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from 1992 to 2010. Illinois EPA officials investigated the company's facility in November 2010 and found that the firm had not paid permit fees associated with the printing presses.

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  • EPA announces new air pollution standards for industrial boilers

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released new regulations in regards to cement kilns, incinerators and industrial boilers on December 21, 2012. According to The New York Times, the standards focus on reducing acid gas, mercury and small-particle emissions across the country.

    Several officials with the National Association of Manufacturers noted that the compliance expenses associated with the rules could cost companies up to $14 billion. These administrators said that the additional EPA regulations may limit expansion opportunities for some businesses.

    However, the EPA estimates that air quality improvements to comply with the new regulations could cost manufacturers around $2 billion. The standards are also designed to give companies several years to comply to reduce the impact on employees and operations.

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  • Research shows air pollution is a significant global problem

    Recent statistics reflect air pollution's impact on people across the globe. According to Time Magazine, a December 2012 analysis published in Lancet showed that more than 3.2 million people suffered premature deaths due to air pollution in 2010.

    U.S. officials have instituted new policies and technologies to help reduce air pollution. The news source notes that urban air is cleaner in the United States and other developed nations than it was 30 to 40 years ago, thanks in part to an increased focus on air quality.  

    Additionally, computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego, recently introduced a new smartphone app that could help safeguard Americans against air pollution. Gizmag reports that these researchers created a portable sensor that measures local concentrations of several harmful pollutants, including carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. The device wirelessly transmits data to users' smartphones, which enables them to evaluate the air quality in numerous locations.

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  • EPA releases annual pollution enforcement report

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released statistics in regards to its annual pollution enforcement on December 17, 2012. Agency officials said they eliminated 2.2 billion pounds of air, water and land pollution over the past year. Additionally, EPA administrators noted that $252 million in civil and criminal penalties were levied in 2012.

    Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, said enforcement was crucial for officials, as administrators used new initiatives to help reduce pollution across the country.

    “We are using vigorous enforcement, as well as innovations in monitoring and transparency, to reduce pollution violations, protect and empower communities and focus on the environmental problems that matter most," Giles said.

    An innovative enforcement actions map was one of several tools that EPA officials provided to communities. The map was designed to increase public accountability to improve environmental compliance and includes information about violators throughout the nation.

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  • EPA examines regulations to control soot pollution

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently finalized air quality standards designed to protect Americans from soot pollution. Fine particles can cause serious health effects such as heart attacks and strokes, and the updated air quality standards are designed to help U.S. counties further protect citizens against these dangers.

    Agency officials said that they anticipate that 99 percent of U.S. counties could meet the revised health standard by 2020, without any additional action.

    "These standards are fulfilling the promise of the Clean Air Act," EPA representative Lisa P. Jackson said. "We will save lives and reduce the burden of illness in our communities."

    Fewer than 10 U.S. counties will need to perform actions to reduce fine particle pollution to meet the new standard, which is mandated by the Clean Air Act. Meanwhile, the remaining counties can follow existing federal guidelines to meet the new standard.

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