Air pollution in Houston/Galveston region could increase under EPA-created loophole, study finds.

April 25, 2018

Air pollution in the Houston and Galveston areas could more than double if eligible companies take advantage of an air emissions “loophole” created by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt earlier this year, a new report finds according to a April 10, 2018 Houston Chronicle article.

In January, Pruitt reversed a 1995 policy known as “once in, always in,” under which all “major” air polluters, such as power plants and factories, would always be regulated under stricter standards even if they reduced pollution. Pruitt’s decision would allow them to get out from under those stricter standards once their pollution fell within the legal limits, a move that was billed by the EPA at the time as “reducing regulatory burdens.”

In the Houston/Galveston area, 18 facilities fit that bill — a fact that could prove disastrous for the area’s air, according to a report released April 10, 2018 by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

“The results of our Houston analysis underscores just how reckless Pruitt’s decision to create an air toxics loophole will be for the city’s residents and for Americans that live near industrial facilities all across the country,” said Tomás Carbonell, EDF’s director of regulatory policy.

Those 18 facilities emitted about 183 tons of hazardous air pollutants in 2014, the most recent year available, the report found.

If all the facilities use the “loophole” to the maximum extent possible, that amount increases 146 percent, to a total of 450 tons, the report continues.

What this means to you
Air pollution in the Houston and Galveston areas could more than double if eligible companies take advantage of an air emissions once in/always in loophole created by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt.

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