Creating environmental standards and new laws regarding pollution always includes debate. The American struggle is balancing the importance of protecting the environment and the importance of protecting the economy.
A recent EPA announcement regarding air quality standards is no different. Environmental advocates applaud the stricter requirements and what it will mean for the health of the people. But some critics from the business side of things argue that this new requirement will take a toll on the economy. Some Georgia business sources specifically oppose the new standard.
What is the EPA’s new rule? The agency reevaluates the specifics of the Clean Air Act on a regular basis, and this new standard is the result of doing so. Businesses can give off as much as 12 micrograms of soot per cubic meter on average per year versus the prior maximum of 15 micrograms. They have to measure the air quality of their businesses over the next year, give the EPA time to review it, and then companies have to put forth a plan that will get their soot output to the required lower levels by 2020.
The industries most directly affected by the new air quality standard are fossil fuel plants and food processing plants. Old coal burning plants in particular will likely find it difficult to meet the new quality standards since they would have to spend a lot of money to improve the output of soot. The money it may cost to improve soot output within these industries worries business heads that the taxpayer will have to pay more for energy and plant workers will lose their jobs.
The priority of air quality standards must be the health of the environment and its people. Exposure to soot in the air has a negative health effect on people, sometimes leading to respiratory issues and death. Our law firm helps people who become victims of toxic exposure. Visit our site to learn about how we can help people injured due to contaminated air and other environment-related acts of negligence.
Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “New EPA soot rules could be tough on some Georgia areas,” Kristi Swartz, Dec. 14, 2012