by jim on January 15, 2012

Inventorying the "most ambitious clean air rules in decades"

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Reuters has the run down on the plethora of new EPA clean air rules coming down in the next year or so, including resolution of the cross-state regs, vehicle efficiency, fracking emissions, Greenhouse Gases, and Coal Ash rules. We know there's been a lot of justifiable disappointment with this Administration, but please look at this agenda and try to imagine that any part of it would be coming from an EPA run by any of the current GOP presidential candidates. It's pretty much impossible.  

When a Power Plant Spews Its Crap in China, It Causes a Drought in Texas?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Many of you know the cliche of Chaos Theory made famous by  "Jurassic Park's" Jeff Goldblum, that "when a butterfly flaps its wings in China, it causes a hurricane in Florida." Now science has produced the environmental equivalent of that theory by showing how massive amounts of air pollution from China is affecting weather patterns in the western U.S. CBS News interviews a scientist working on the relationship at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. "The atmosphere has no walls. So pollution on this side of the world can make it the other side of the world in about five days," she says. In this case, Chinese PM/soot is carried by the jet stream across the Pacific and stops the clouds in the western U.S. from producing rain and snow.  

The Gaseous Story Behind Wise and Hood Counties Being Added to DFW Non-Attainment Area

Monday, December 12, 2011

Late Friday EPA announced that it was recommending two more North Texas counties – Wise and Hood – join the current nine-county DFW "non-attainment" area for smog, or ozone pollution for purposes of trying to reach the new 75 parts per billion federal standard. In doing so, the EPA disagreed with the latest State of Texas plan to leave the non-attainment area boundaries unchanged. But as the Star-Telegram points out today, that wasn't the original position of the state. In 2008, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality suggested both Wise and Hood be included in DFW's smog zone. According to the documents submitted to EPA by TCEQ supporting this inclusion (accessible via a link in the S-T article),"Wise County produces significant stationary source emissions, ranking 2nd in the 13-county air quality planning area for NOx emissions in 2005. Hood County, the thirteenth county in the air quality planning area, has a design value of 84 parts per billion for 2005 through 2007, and a preliminary design value for 2006 through 2008 of 77 parts per billion."  But, as the S-T story points out, TCEQ commissioners requested that Wise be removed from the recommendation to the governor’s office in December of 2008 and Hood was cut out of the recommendation less than two months ago. Supposedly, these counties were removed by the state because ozone averages up to and including 2010 were lower than the ones in previous years. But that's only one criterion and since Wise doesn't have  monitor at all – because TCEQ is afraid of what it might find – that's not a legitimate argument for its absence on the TCEQ list to EPA. But wait there's more. In the documents EPA sent the state to justify both Wise and Hood Counties being included, it cites a number of different factors, including new emissions from Barnett Shale gas production. EPA used a national 2008 comprehensive emissions inventory to account for how much smog-producing Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) were coming from each North Texas county. According to this data, Hood County had 5500 tons a year of NOx emissions, and 9500 tons a year of VOCs FROM ALL SOURCES,while Wise had 12,000 tons a year of NOx and 23,700 tons a year of VOCs. Those are big enough numbers to get noticed. And yet EPA notes that a year later, TCEQ did its own Barnett Shale emissions inventory and found even higher totals for some counties. For Hood, Shale production accounted for 7000 tons a year of NOx – or more than 1500 tons more a year than the EPA's inventory of all sources in Hood County combined. VOCs from gas pollution accounted for 2100 tons a year, or almost a quarter of the EPA inventory total. In Wise, TCEQ's shale inventory found 2500 tons of NOX, and 6000 tons of VOCs a year being emitted from gas production. In addition, EPA traced back where dirty air came from on high ozone days at selected Tarrant County and Parker County smog monitors. It concluded that these "back trajectories" for the Eagle Mountain Lake and Parker County monitors "further support that air that is transported from Hood and Wise Counties ends up in the area when ozone exceedences are observed." As we noted on Friday, this is the first time in the two decade battle over DFW air quality that gas industry air pollution has been a reason for including a county in the DFW non-attainment area. That's what makes this latest announcement such a milestone, and worthy of more discussion in places like the Dallas and Denton gas drilling task forces that are charged with re-writing those cities gas mining ordinances.   

Senate Blocks Rollback of EPA Interstate Pollution Rules

Monday, November 21, 2011

Six Republican Senators joined their Democratic colleagues to thwart an attempt to rollback EPA'srecently announced Cross State Pollution Rules that requires approximately 30 states, including Texas, to curb emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, which contribute to smog and haze problems in other states. President Obama had threatened to veto the legislation if it had managed to get out of the Senate, although despite two years of trying, House Republicans have yet to find a piece of EPA rollback legislation that can make it through the other chamber. But that won't keep them from trying. Expect to hear about similar results in the coming weeks for bills nullifying the 2008 cement plant emission standards, the 2010 rules for small boilers and incinerators and other clean air legislation.  

Better late than never: Texas Monthly does the Perry vs EPA story

Friday, November 18, 2011

TM's Nate Blakeslee gets the assignment to track down how Rick Perry runs against those crazy environmentalists and EPA the way George Wallace ran against those crazy civil rights marchers and the Justice Department. He can't quite bring himself to mention Downwinders' name when establishing Region 6 EPA Administrator Al Armendariz' credentials but we're represented nonetheless as, "a citizens’ group that won a judgment against one of the many cement manufacturing companies south of Dallas, which have long contributed to the Metroplex’s intractable air pollution problems." Nothing much new here, especially for those of us living this story, but it's good to see Perry's disastrous run for the Presidency have some decent side-effects like coverage of his anti-environmental stances. 
 

"The most dangerous attacks on clean air since the Clean Air Act was signed"

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the House Republican assault on the Clean Air Act, including gutting rules that would reduce smog, mercury poisoning, and toxic air pollution of all kinds. Every week from now until Thanksgiving, Republicans will be targeting a different EPA policy for destruction, including the 15-years-in-the-making emission rules for cement plants that Downwinders was instrumental in winning in 2008.

Ozone Season Goes Out in Orange

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

UPDATE: 8:30 PM    Things cooled off rapidly after 5pm and so did the ozone levels, just in the nick of time too. The Keller monitor barely escapes establishing a new season "4th high" and setting off a chain reaction that would have increased the entire regional ozone average by a part per billion or so. Instead, it merely tied its 4th highest reading of 95 ppb and the region's Design Value stays at 90 ppb. Parker County did set a record today – its highest 8-hour average this summer, also at 95 ppb. Another day like today and it could be the 7th monitor out of compliance this year. Eagle Mountain Lake also saw its highest 8-hour average reading this year at 87ppb. A final middle finger salute to DFW from the Smog Monster in what's been the worst year for ozone since 2006? We still have a week and a half to go until "ozone season" ends.

Cause and Effect: Ozone Rule Opponents Are 4 of Top 10 Obama Contributors

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Washington Independent digs around the Obama campaign money machine and finds all kinds of well-known polluters giving money to the President even as they trash the Administration's environmental policies:  

Report: Clean Air – Not Just for White People Anymore

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Latinos would have a higher risk of disease and death without the (now gutted ozone) standards and would be affected more than other groups because they’re more likely to live in polluted areas, according to a report released by five groups. Asthma, bronchitis, organ damage and death rates would increase among the 39 percent of Latinos who live within 30 miles of a power plant and the one in two Latinos who live in the nation’s top 25 ozone-polluted cities such as Houston and Dallas,the report said." 

I don't know but it's been said, the streets of Frisco are paved with lead.

Monday, September 19, 2011

One of the most disturbing and unforgettable images conjured up by the recent TCEQ  inspection report on the Exide lead smelter in downtown Frisco is the revelation that for a number of years it was routine for the town's streets to be paved with highly contaminated lead slag waste from the facility.  

Inventorying the "most ambitious clean air rules in decades"

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Reuters has the run down on the plethora of new EPA clean air rules coming down in the next year or so, including resolution of the cross-state regs, vehicle efficiency, fracking emissions, Greenhouse Gases, and Coal Ash rules. We know there's been a lot of justifiable disappointment with this Administration, but please look at this agenda and try to imagine that any part of it would be coming from an EPA run by any of the current GOP presidential candidates. It's pretty much impossible.

When a Power Plant Spews Its Crap in China, It Causes a Drought in Texas?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Many of you know the cliche of Chaos Theory made famous by  "Jurassic Park's" Jeff Goldblum, that "when a butterfly flaps its wings in China, it causes a hurricane in Florida." Now science has produced the environmental equivalent of that theory by showing how massive amounts of air pollution from China is affecting weather patterns in the western U.S. CBS News interviews a scientist working on the relationship at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. "The atmosphere has no walls. So pollution on this side of the world can make it the other side of the world in about five days," she says. In this case, Chinese PM/soot is carried by the jet stream across the Pacific and stops the clouds in the western U.S. from producing rain and snow.  

The Gaseous Story Behind Wise and Hood Counties Being Added to DFW Non-Attainment Area

Monday, December 12, 2011

Late Friday EPA announced that it was recommending two more North Texas counties – Wise and Hood – join the current nine-county DFW "non-attainment" area for smog, or ozone pollution for purposes of trying to reach the new 75 parts per billion federal standard. In doing so, the EPA disagreed with the latest State of Texas plan to leave the non-attainment area boundaries unchanged. But as the Star-Telegram points out today, that wasn't the original position of the state. In 2008, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality suggested both Wise and Hood be included in DFW's smog zone. According to the documents submitted to EPA by TCEQ supporting this inclusion (accessible via a link in the S-T article),"Wise County produces significant stationary source emissions, ranking 2nd in the 13-county air quality planning area for NOx emissions in 2005. Hood County, the thirteenth county in the air quality planning area, has a design value of 84 parts per billion for 2005 through 2007, and a preliminary design value for 2006 through 2008 of 77 parts per billion."  But, as the S-T story points out, TCEQ commissioners requested that Wise be removed from the recommendation to the governor’s office in December of 2008 and Hood was cut out of the recommendation less than two months ago. Supposedly, these counties were removed by the state because ozone averages up to and including 2010 were lower than the ones in previous years. But that's only one criterion and since Wise doesn't have  monitor at all – because TCEQ is afraid of what it might find – that's not a legitimate argument for its absence on the TCEQ list to EPA. But wait there's more. In the documents EPA sent the state to justify both Wise and Hood Counties being included, it cites a number of different factors, including new emissions from Barnett Shale gas production. EPA used a national 2008 comprehensive emissions inventory to account for how much smog-producing Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) were coming from each North Texas county. According to this data, Hood County had 5500 tons a year of NOx emissions, and 9500 tons a year of VOCs FROM ALL SOURCES,while Wise had 12,000 tons a year of NOx and 23,700 tons a year of VOCs. Those are big enough numbers to get noticed. And yet EPA notes that a year later, TCEQ did its own Barnett Shale emissions inventory and found even higher totals for some counties. For Hood, Shale production accounted for 7000 tons a year of NOx – or more than 1500 tons more a year than the EPA's inventory of all sources in Hood County combined. VOCs from gas pollution accounted for 2100 tons a year, or almost a quarter of the EPA inventory total. In Wise, TCEQ's shale inventory found 2500 tons of NOX, and 6000 tons of VOCs a year being emitted from gas production. In addition, EPA traced back where dirty air came from on high ozone days at selected Tarrant County and Parker County smog monitors. It concluded that these "back trajectories" for the Eagle Mountain Lake and Parker County monitors "further support that air that is transported from Hood and Wise Counties ends up in the area when ozone exceedences are observed." As we noted on Friday, this is the first time in the two decade battle over DFW air quality that gas industry air pollution has been a reason for including a county in the DFW non-attainment area. That's what makes this latest announcement such a milestone, and worthy of more discussion in places like the Dallas and Denton gas drilling task forces that are charged with re-writing those cities gas mining ordinances.  

Senate Blocks Rollback of EPA Interstate Pollution Rules

Monday, November 21, 2011

Six Republican Senators joined their Democratic colleagues to thwart an attempt to rollback EPA'srecently announced Cross State Pollution Rules that requires approximately 30 states, including Texas, to curb emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, which contribute to smog and haze problems in other states. President Obama had threatened to veto the legislation if it had managed to get out of the Senate, although despite two years of trying, House Republicans have yet to find a piece of EPA rollback legislation that can make it through the other chamber. But that won't keep them from trying. Expect to hear about similar results in the coming weeks for bills nullifying the 2008 cement plant emission standards, the 2010 rules for small boilers and incinerators and other clean air legislation.

Better late than never: Texas Monthly does the Perry vs EPA story

Friday, November 18, 2011

TM's Nate Blakeslee gets the assignment to track down how Rick Perry runs against those crazy environmentalists and EPA the way George Wallace ran against those crazy civil rights marchers and the Justice Department. He can't quite bring himself to mention Downwinders' name when establishing Region 6 EPA Administrator Al Armendariz' credentials but we're represented nonetheless as, "a citizens’ group that won a judgment against one of the many cement manufacturing companies south of Dallas, which have long contributed to the Metroplex’s intractable air pollution problems." Nothing much new here, especially for those of us living this story, but it's good to see Perry's disastrous run for the Presidency have some decent side-effects like coverage of his anti-environmental stances. 

"The most dangerous attacks on clean air since the Clean Air Act was signed"

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the House Republican assault on the Clean Air Act, including gutting rules that would reduce smog, mercury poisoning, and toxic air pollution of all kinds. Every week from now until Thanksgiving, Republicans will be targeting a different EPA policy for destruction, including the 15-years-in-the-making emission rules for cement plants that Downwinders was instrumental in winning in 2008.  

Ozone Season Goes Out in Orange

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

UPDATE: 8:30 PM    Things cooled off rapidly after 5pm and so did the ozone levels, just in the nick of time too. The Keller monitor barely escapes establishing a new season "4th high" and setting off a chain reaction that would have increased the entire regional ozone average by a part per billion or so. Instead, it merely tied its 4th highest reading of 95 ppb and the region's Design Value stays at 90 ppb. Parker County did set a record today – its highest 8-hour average this summer, also at 95 ppb. Another day like today and it could be the 7th monitor out of compliance this year. Eagle Mountain Lake also saw its highest 8-hour average reading this year at 87ppb. A final middle finger salute to DFW from the Smog Monster in what's been the worst year for ozone since 2006? We still have a week and a half to go until "ozone season" ends.

Cause and Effect: Ozone Rule Opponents Are 4 of Top 10 Obama Contributors

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Washington Independent digs around the Obama campaign money machine and finds all kinds of well-known polluters giving money to the President even as they trash the Administration's environmental policies:

Report: Clean Air – Not Just for White People Anymore

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Latinos would have a higher risk of disease and death without the (now gutted ozone) standards and would be affected more than other groups because they’re more likely to live in polluted areas, according to a report released by five groups. Asthma, bronchitis, organ damage and death rates would increase among the 39 percent of Latinos who live within 30 miles of a power plant and the one in two Latinos who live in the nation’s top 25 ozone-polluted cities such as Houston and Dallas,the report said." 

I don't know but it's been said, the streets of Frisco are paved with lead.

Monday, September 19, 2011

One of the most disturbing and unforgettable images conjured up by the recent TCEQ  inspection report on the Exide lead smelter in downtown Frisco is the revelation that for a number of years it was routine for the town's streets to be paved with highly contaminated lead slag waste from the facility.

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