Imagine That: Local Regulation of Polluters

by jim on September 20, 2012

From San Francisco comes word that the area's largest Mercury polluter, the local Lehigh-Heidelberg Cement plant, may be the subject of tougher LOCAL air pollution regulations. 

In 2011, the kiln spewed 260 pounds of Mercury into the local airshed and new regulations being proposed for the plant by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District would address not only this pollution, but emissions of dust, ammonia, dioxins, smog pollutants, and hydrocarbons. 

In part, the new local rules are being spurred by EPA's own updating (and delaying) of its own air pollution rules for the nation's cement kilns. In part, local pressure from the public is driving their consideration. Bay Area for a Clean Environment collected over 1800 signatures demanding the new more stringent rules.

In California regional air boards are the prime shapers of air quality planning and policy, tailoring measures to their own geographical boundaries and problem areas. Imagine the 10-county DFW non-attainment area for smog (Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Tarrant, Parker, Rockwall, Wise,) having its own air quality agency with the power to enforce new anti-pollution measures without having to get Governor Rick Perry's permission. Local control also means more opportunity for local citizens to have input rather than being blown off by ideologues in Austin intent on scoring political points rather than cleaning the air.

As we've noted before, if DFW officials really want cleaner air, they're going to have to get it themselves.

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