November 23, 2002

Of, by, and for...the Corporation

Did you not see this one coming on November 5th? This is just the beginning of the disassembly of air-and-water quality gains made over the last twenty years. With his daddy, it was "blue smoke and mirrors". With little Dubya, just the blue smoke.

Smoke and Mirrors: Under the NSR provision, changes at industrial facilities resulting in significant pollution increases (e.g., 40 tons per year) triggered cleanup obligations. To determine whether pollution increases, a company must compare its pollution before the change, known as its pollution "baseline," with pollution levels after the change. The administration's rule change will allow a facility to pick a fictional pollution baseline that is worse than its actual pollution levels, essentially allowing the facility to pollute more and pretend it is not.

The Dirty Unit Loophole: The Environmental Protection Agency is creating a loophole in NSR requirements called the "clean unit" exemption. Far from being clean, the sole purpose of the exemption is to allow significant increases in air pollution to avoid cleanup and installing state-of-the-art pollution controls that were required under NSR rules.

No PAL of Mine: EPA is adopting a plant-wide applicability limit (PAL) concept that purports to be a 10-year "cap" on pollution covering an entire facility. It will allow facilities to lock in excessive pollution levels -- without having to reduce those levels -- and avoid cleanup under NSR for 10 years and beyond. EPA will not mandate pollution control requirements for new or existing polluting equipment under a PAL. A PAL will last 10 years, allowing pollution decreases that occurred nine years ago to purportedly "offset" actual and significant pollution increases today, thereby avoiding cleanup today.

-- from Natural Resources Defense Council Press Release Nov.22, 2002

Posted by fred1st at November 23, 2002 05:21 PM
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