- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
Over a dozen states have joined in a lawsuit against the EPA seeking to have the agency lower allowed soot levels from smokestacks and exhaust pipes. According to New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, the states were responding to studies that showed the fine particulate material from soot contributes to premature death, chronic respiratory disease and asthma attacks, leading to higher health costs.
The Clean Air Act requires a review every five years to determine whether air pollution standards should be adjusted. The EPA said it did consider research cited by the state officials but had decided to rely on previous research that had been verified during its last review, which led to a 50 percent reduction. The agency said it would consider the new studies in the next five-year review cycle.
The states want to reduce the current limit by 1 microgram or 2 micrograms of soot allowed per cubic foot of air. The current maximum is 15 micrograms. The states contend the EPA has ignored their pleas and scientific evidence in choosing to continue the current standard.
“Where the science was clear, we took clear action,” said EPA spokeswoman Jennifer Wood. “EPA significantly strengthened the previous daily standard by nearly 50 percent.”
“It is unfortunate that this coalition of states must resort to legal action to get the EPA to do its job - protect the environment and the public health,” said Spitzer.