Two Cheers for Air Pollution Control: Triumphs and Limits of the Mid-Century Fight for Air Quality

Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 6.41.47 PMA smoggy Los Angeles street in 1960.  Credit

As President Trump, the auto industry and the state of California battle over air pollution standards,  a new  article in Public Health Reports analyzes the early years of 20th-century air pollution control in Los Angeles. In both scholarship and public memory, mid-century efforts at the regional level were overshadowed by major federal developments, namely the Clean Air Act and creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency in 1970.

Continue reading Two Cheers for Air Pollution Control: Triumphs and Limits of the Mid-Century Fight for Air Quality

EPA Reports 2016 Enforcement Highlights

In a landmark settlement, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports, that  Volkswagen agreed to spend up to $14.7 billion to settle allegations of using “defeat devices” to cheat emissions tests and deceive customers. Volkswagen will offer consumers a buyback and lease termination for nearly 500,000 model year 2009-2015 2.0 liter diesel vehicles sold or leased in the U.S., and provide additional compensation to consumers, at a cost of up to $10 billion. In addition, Volkswagen will spend $4.7 billion to mitigate the pollution from these cars and invest in green vehicle technology. Together, these actions will restore clean air protections and make our auto industry cleaner for generations of Americans to come.

The Absurd, Illegal Logic Behind Trump’s ‘Two for One’ Regulation Proposal

The president-elect recently described in a YouTube video what he intends to do on his very first day in office, writes Ken Kimmell on InsideSources.  Among other things, he will issue a new command to all federal agencies: “If you want to issue a new regulation, you must repeal two existing ones.”  So, for example, if the Environmental Protection Agency wants to issue a new rule to protect kids from mercury pollution from power plants, it would need to cut two existing rules, such as reducing lead in drinking water or requiring school buses to cut smog-causing emissions. Or if the Consumer Product Safety Commission wants to protect families from dangerous car seats for children, the commission would need to drop rules such as requiring better labeling of age appropriate toys, or reducing toxic substances in baby products.  As these examples illustrate, the idea is absurd. Agencies issue multiple regulations because there are multiple threats to public health, safety and the environment. Each regulation must be judged on its own merits. If a new regulation is warranted, it should be issued. If an existing regulation is outdated or no longer effective, it should be changed. One shouldn’t be held hostage for the other.