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September 08, 2014

New EPA safeguard would close major Clean Air Act loophole

SmogIn case you missed it, late Friday the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a fix to a Clean Air Act loophole which currently allows facilities in 36 states to dump massive amounts of pollution onto nearby communities. Right now this loophole enables facilities in these states, during periods when the facility is coming online, shutting down, or experiences a malfunction (SSM), to emit huge amounts of pollution that they aren't held accountable for.

What's more, these facilities doing these massive pollution dumps are often located in low income and communities of color -- communities that have already shouldered the burden of excessive hazardous air and water pollution.

Polluters should never get a free pass at the expense of the public health of their neighbors.

"Fixing the SSM loophole in the Clean Air Act is the right move for EPA," said Leslie Fields, director of the Sierra Club's Environmental Justice and Community Partnerships program. "Communities on the fenceline of polluting industries deserve relief from facilities claiming SSM events. The health and economic effects from these SSM are severe and continous. Environmental Justice communities have demanded these actions for a long time. EPA's closure of the SSM loophole is welcomed and will help protect the most affected communities and all other communities."

The next step is an EPA public hearing on October 7 in Washington, D.C. A final rule is expected before June 2015.


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