Today and tomorrow, the lame duck House of Representatives will vote on two disingenuous bills that would prevent the EPA from using the best available science to protect human health and the environment.
November 18th, 2014
October 30th, 2014
Ever think that your rural backyard could face air pollution levels in excess of 100 times EPA health standards? Jeff and Rhonda Locker of Wyoming didn’t think so either. But a new peer-reviewed study out in Environmental Health today suggests that such spikes in air pollution in your backyard are possible if you live next to an oil and gas facility. Read More
June 4th, 2014
Today the EPA’s chartered Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) agreed on a recommendation to Administrator McCarthy regarding an update to the ambient air pollution standard for ozone (To get up to speed on the ozone standard update process, see my previous post on the topic). The deliberation of the committee and the Ozone Review Panel exemplified the challenges of translating science to policy and it was clear that the scientific experts on the panel had differing opinions on how this should be done. Read More
April 3rd, 2014
March 26th, 2014
This week the EPA’s Clean Air Science Advisory Committee (CASAC) meets to discuss the science behind the national air pollution standard for ozone. The independent committee, which is comprised of air pollution and public health experts from a variety of institutions outside of the EPA, meets regularly to discuss the science on air pollution and health and to make recommendations to EPA on its air pollution rules. But this meeting in particular has greater interest from scientists, industry, and the public. Read More
with Daniel Tormey, Ph.D., P.G.; Technical Director, Cardno ENTRIX
Los Angeles, California
September 26th, 2013
If you’ve been following the discussion of pollution risks around the unconventional oil and gas development that has been enabled by hydraulic fracturing and other technologies, then you’ve probably heard a lot about water contamination risks. These risks are certainly worth discussing, but discussion of air pollution risks also deserves some attention. We want to take the time to talk about air quality concerns—not just because this is where Gretchen’s past interests lie—but also because current research suggests there may be real risks from air pollution near oil and gas activities. Read More
September 5th, 2013
Rep. Lamar Smith, Chairman of the House Science Committee seems to be implying that unless the raw data from two major studies are made available to him and his colleagues, that the science used by the EPA in crafting some air quality regulations is secret. The Center for Science and Democracy at UCS was formed to advance the role of science and scientific evidence in public policy. So should we be supporting Chairman Smith’s demand, which he has backed up by a subpoena? Read More
August 29th, 2013
To a scientist, having new data to study is like a child having a new candy store to explore. With the EPA’s release of new air pollution rules, I’ve just learned of the Willy Wonka Factory of data in my field of study. The rules require new air quality monitors near major roadways in US cities. The new data will ultimately help us better protect from harmful air pollutants the millions of Americans who live, work, and play close to major roads.
June 26th, 2013
Over the last two weeks, large numbers of fires have broken out on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, and once again this has led to massive air pollution, carried to neighboring countries such as Singapore and Malaysia. This time, however, people could see not only the choking, dangerous “haze,” but also the locations of the fires, including which ones were on lands used by companies to produce palm, oil, pulpwood, timber, and other commodities. GIS technology and publicly available data, rapidly analyzed by scientists, brought a transparency to the issue that is so sorely lacking in the air over Singapore.
May 31st, 2013
Echoing back to classic Cold War struggles, Russia has blocked Western European and U.S. efforts by apparently scuttling international plans to reduce hazardous pollution from ships starting in 2016. The “Tier III” amendment to the International Maritime Organization’s MARPOL standards would have required new engines that power the largest ships to include pollution control devices. These devices — such as selective catalytic reduction (SCR) — dramatically reduce the amount of nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide (collectively known as NOx) gases leaving a ship’s funnels. Read More