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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Prepare for smoggier, less healthy air if Trump's pick for EPA is approved

Residents of the San Joaquin Valley and the Los Angeles area are well aware of how bad photochemical smog can be. Both areas still fail to meet not only federal but also California standards for clean, healthy air.

However, based upon testimony during his confirmation hearings before the U.S. Senate, residents of those areas had better start getting prepared for a return to smoggier days based upon Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt's answers yesterday.

Scott Pruitt, Photo by Michael Reynolds / EPA - Fair use

Pruitt, President*-elect Trump's pick to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has long been a friend to the oil and gas industry and a vocal opponent of several ground breaking environmental laws. During his testimony he refused to say that he would support a certain federal waiver that allows California and other states to adopt air pollution regulations that are more stringent than what EPA requires.

This waiver has allowed California to adopt tougher air pollution controls for motor vehicles, for example, as well as adopting stronger air permitting and air pollution control requirements for industrial sources as well. Those more robust regulations have demonstrably resulted in far greater progress in reducing air pollution in California than otherwise would have occurred under EPA regulations alone.

However, Pruitt, who has a history of arguing for state's rights when it benefits industrial concerns, hinted that continuation of the waiver if he is approved to be EPA's leader will not be a given.

Get out the gas masks - the air around here is going to get hard to breathe real soon.

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