A New Report Shows Damning Effects of the Trump Administration’s Rollback on Air Pollution Control
The EPA is dead, long live the new EPA; a 23-year-old standard called “Once In, Always In” has been reversed by the Trump Administration, no longer making it a federal requirement for industrial companies to run air pollution control systems, with devastating effects as shown by a new report courtesy of the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), a non-partisan foundation-funded initiative with individual contributors. A coalition of environmental groups has filed today a lawsuit against the Trump Administration in light of these findings.
A particularly troubling statistic are the communities affected in the EIP’s report. The study included over 60,000 residents living within a mile of 12 industrial plants, spanning the states of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Minnesota. A large number of those populations include ethnic minorities, specifically African-Americans and Hispanics. It was also noted over half of the communities suffered poverty rates over twice the national average, presently at 13 percent. The toxicity of their air pollution, it has been shown, could increase four times over.
Horrific examples of the ramifications include the ability to raise toxins emitted from an annual 1,000 to 50,000 pounds by a waste treatment and recovery plant in Dayton, Ohio. The pollutants include methanol and ethylbenzene, and can impair the human nervous system. Another case involves an industrial drum recycling plant in Chicago, whose toxin rate of 18,129 pounds could also rise to a staggering 50,000 pounds.
7 Environmental Groups Filed a Lawsuit Today
A lawsuit, which may be viewed here, against the Trump Administration have been filed today by seven environmental causes, including Earthjustice and the EIP. EIP Executive Director Eric Schaeffer slammed the administration’s decision in a statement, equating it to “taking speedometers out of cars for anyone who agrees not to drive faster than the speed limit.”
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)’s Tomás Carbonell echoed this, stating, “It underscores how reckless it was for EPA to abruptly announce this new loophole without undertaking any analysis of the impacts for public health or air quality, and without any opportunity for public comment.”
Speaking to The Scope Weekly directly, Schaeffer followed up on his comments, saying about the lawsuit, “It’s not about sending a message. Enough are sent every day. What it’s about is holding the EPA accountable for its reversal of air pollution requirements. If you do a turnaround on something that important, you have to go through a system of law to justify why.” He adds, “What I suspect they will argue is that people aren’t going to abuse this, that it merely provides leniency for corporations to flourish.” Whether or not this is true, there is no denying that for those who do abuse the freedom from the EPA’s industrial regulations, the results could be irreparably damaging for both people and their environments.
As previously reported by the Scope Weekly, the White House released the Climate Science Special Report in November 2017 that concluded that earth’s temperature continues to rise and that humans are primarily responsible.