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New Congressional Bill on Exceptional Events

May 25, 2012

Here is a new Congressional Bill filed on the “exceptional event” provision in the Clean Air Act—attempting to address the situation for example where windblown dust is causing nonattainment problems for downwind States.

I would suggest backing up one step and asking why States are being required to make this demonstration.  What is the environmental benefit of this exercise?

How about just aligning responsibility and authority for the NAAQS so that States are no longer required to demonstrate what they cannot effectively do?  That way States could spend their time and money on reducing pollution instead of looking at fires in Mexico, dust storms in Africa, and auto-rickshaw emissions in East Timor.  And let’s also consider this issue from a public health standpoint.  The fact is that “exceptional events” and foreign pollution impacts our health and our children’s health.  When States successfully prove to EPA that the States shouldn’t be responsible for “exceptional events” and foreign pollution (which they shouldn’t be), does this mean then that EPA is responsible for it?  The answer to this question is no.  The answer is that no one then is responsible for it.  Shouldn’t someone be responsible for trying to protect our children from these impacts?

Time to be honest with ourselves.  Time to be honest with the public.  The world is changing.  We must change with it.  Time to transform the SIP process.  We can make it happen.

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