U.S. EPA To Reclassify Thousands of Major Polluters

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated its new rule change will result in up to 1,258 tons of additional emissions of hazardous materials every year.

October 6, 2020, 10:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Pittsburgh Steel City

Daniel J. Macy / Shutterstock

"The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday finalized a rule that could reclassify many 'major' sources of pollution as minor ones, allowing facilities to abide by less-stringent emissions standards for dangerous substances such as mercury, lead and arsenic," report Rebecca Beitsch and Rachel Frazin.

"The rule allows major sources to become reclassified if they now meet the hazardous air pollutants guidelines in place for the smaller “area” polluters — producing 10 tons per year or less of a single toxin, or 25 tons a year for facilities that emit multiple toxins," explain Beitsch and Frazin in more detail.

The EPA estimates the rule change "will result in up to 1,258 tons per year of additional emissions of hazardous air pollutants," according to the article, and 3,900 polluters are now eligible for reclassification.

John Walke, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, is quoted in the article criticizing the rule change, saying it's a gratuitous example of "extreme ideology over public health, common sense and the law." The article also predicts that environmental groups are likely to challenge the rule change in court.

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