Environmental groups sue to stop EPA loophole allowing industrial plants to turn off pollution controls

The new loophole will exacerbate toxic pollution hazards in communities across the country

WASHINGTON, D.C. — “Today, public health and environmental groups filed a federal lawsuit to protect communities against the risk of a new tidal wave of toxic pollution unleashed by the Trump Administration breaking with decades of precedent, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has vastly expanded a loophole that allows major industrial polluters to turn off their pollution control equipment and pump tons of additional lead, chromium and other hazardous air pollutants into surrounding neighborhoods.

Since it was enacted in 1990, the Clean Air Act has required all ‘major’ sources of hazardous air pollutants to reduce their hazardous emissions by the maximum achievable amount. Virtually every major industry—chemical plants, refineries, lead smelters, paper mills, etc.—has been meeting these requirements for years. EPA’s new action, a 4-page memorandum rushed out without notice or opportunity for public comment, or analysis of air pollution and public health impacts, will change all that.

By virtue of meeting the Clean Air Act’s requirements, thousands of major polluters across the country will be eligible to stop meeting these requirements. Under EPA’s new rule, they will be able to turn down, turn off, or disconnect their pollution controls and double, triple, or even quadruple their toxic emissions. They will also no longer have to monitor their emissions or accurately report them.

…’This attempt to save money by turning off pollution controls will only further shift the burden of pollution to the rest of us, especially fenceline communities. Polluters can and should save money by preventing pollution in the first place.’ said Melissa English, Deputy Director Ohio Citizen Action.”

— press release, EarthJustice

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