Sulfur Dioxide Damages Lungs, and Scott Pruitt Is Letting More of It in Our Air
Nearly a quarter of the nation’s coal-fired power plants in 2017 lacked pollution controls limiting emissions of lung-damaging sulfur dioxide, even though some of their counterparts have been using the controls for almost 40 years.
Federal data show this disparity. It leaves communities like Labadie, Missouri, exposed to stubbornly high levels of the pollutant, even as emissions nationwide have plummeted. Some power-plant operators have exploited a 1977 congressional loophole to avoid installing the controls, environmentalists say. Now, as the public focuses on multiple investigations into US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s spending habits and personnel choices, Pruitt is moving swiftly to grant one of industry’s major policy wishes: He’s making it easier for plant operators to sidestep equipment upgrades in the future.
Running a coal plant without scrubbers isn’t necessarily illegal; some operators have never made the sorts of alterations that would have triggered New Source Review. But the EPA has found that hundreds of old plants made changes that should have forced them to get permits under the program. The permits likely would have required the plants to install scrubbers, which can cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
The gap in pollution-control technology among coal plants extends beyond scrubbers and SO2. Many plants also don’t have advanced controls limiting emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), which can exacerbate asthma and increase vulnerability to other respiratory diseases. Thirty-five percent of the nation’s 657 active coal plants last year lacked these controls, according to EPA data.Gryneos, Pastiche, NV Wino like this(~_^) and this o (~_~) o (#~_~) o and (^~^)3 this (o_o) this (6_6) (O_O) and (*_*) (*_o) (o*o)
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