March 21, 2010 by The Mormon Worker
Below is an article by Andrew Porter, an environmental activist based in Provo who is working on a campaign to encourage BYU to begin using natural gas full-time (rather than coal) to supply BYU’s electricity and heating needs, which would help reduce pollution in the already terrible air in Utah Valley (especially in winter). The article is about an event he organized at the Provo Library. For more information, or to help out, please contact Andrew. His contact info is below. Thanks!
Students and Community Members Call on the EPA to improve Public Health by Passing Strong Ozone Rules
Students and Moms Come together to call for Cleaner Air
March 16th, 2010
Contact: Andrew Porter (801)-471-, Cell: 330-301-6537; firstname.lastname@example.org
On March 16th, BYU Beyond Coal held an event in Provo to raise awareness about the newly proposed EPA regulations regarding ozone. The group used balloons to represent the changes between the current standards and the possible new regulations. After hearing the speakers the attendees went online and commented publicly on the proposed new rules. They then did online outreach to their friends to get them to comment as well.
You can comment on the new rules here: https://secure2.convio.net/sierra/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=3829
The EPA has proposed new rules regarding emission levels of Ozone, to between 60 and 70 parts per billion —within the range that doctors and scientists say is protective of human health. More importantly EPA has proposed changing how the secondary standard is measured so that seasonal variations and seasonal exposure are taken into account—a vital step since smog is a seasonal problem.
Ozone, or smog pollution poses serious health threats. Scientists have compared exposure to smog pollution as getting sunburn on the lungs. Even a low levels smog can aggravate asthma, cause chest pain and cough, worsen respiratory problems, and cause permanent lung damage. Children, seniors and those with lung diseases, like chronic bronchitis, asthma and emphysema, are especially at risk. The standards should be set to protect these vulnerable populations. Current standards fail to protect even our healthiest adults who must curb their running, jogging, and biking when smog makes each lungful of air hazardous to breathe. Lowering the allowable ozone level to 60 ppb would help avoid 5,300 heart attacks, 21,000 emergency room visits, 2.5 million missed work days and between 4,000 and 12,000 premature deaths. The value of the health benefits of the new rules would be between $35 billion and $100 billion per year.
If these new rules were passed many counties will fall into “non-attainment,” which means that EPA will formally recognize that their air is dirtier than allowed under the new smog standard, and so is threatening public health and the environment. Counties in non-attainment will be asked to put together plans for cleaning up their air, which will include ways to clean up existing polluters, like adding scrubbers to dirty coal plants, and reducing emissions from transportation through increased mass transit, smarter land use and cleaner vehicles. While a county is in non-attainment, it can not move forward with any plans that would prevent it from coming back into attainment and meeting the new smog standard. This means that any new pollution sources, like a new coal plant, would have to meet very strict pollution limits before it could move forward with construction. Non-attainment areas will only be able to use federal road building and infrastructure funds for projects that conform to their plans for reducing smog pollution.
With lower ozone standards, counties and metropolitan areas that strategically plan to reduce emissions from their transportation systems and power plants will not only have cleaner air, but less risk of falling into non-attainment. With less risk of non-attainment, these areas will be able to attract more business.
Clearly ozone levels need to be lowered, if you want to comment on these news rules as well go here: https://secure2.convio.net/sierra/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=3829