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EPA Ends Air Pollution Policy

by Countable | 1.26.18

What’s the story?

The Environmental Protection Agency is withdrawing a decades-old policy that targeted "major sources" of hazardous pollution, like mercury and lead.

The "once-in, always-in" policy of the Clean Air Act meant that if a power plant or factory once qualified as a major polluter, it would always have to comply with regulations that apply to major polluters.

Why does it matter?

William Wehrum, head of the EPA’s air office, said repealing the "once-in, always-in" policy would:

"Reduce regulatory burden for industries and the states, while continuing to ensure stringent and effective controls on hazardous air pollutants."

Environmentalists, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, criticized the repeal. They claim the "once-in, always-in" regulations kept polluters from trimming back to just below the major-source classification.

"This is among the most dangerous actions that the Trump EPA has taken yet against public health," John Walke, the NRDC’s clean air director, said in a statement. He continued:

"Rolling back longstanding protections to allow the greatest increase in hazardous air pollutants in our nation’s history is unconscionable.

What do you think?

Do you support ending the "once-in, always-in policy"? Did the policy unfairly punish factories, even if they made improvements to curb pollution? Or did it help prevent them from cutting pollution to just below a major-source classification? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your comments below.

—Josh Herman

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(Photo Credit: Schroptschop / iStock)

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(453)
  • BeStrong
    01/26/2018
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    This is unacceptable! (Unacceptable was my 28th choice of adjective). CA in the 70’s had air so thick with pollution that children’s chests would hurt at the end of a day playing out doors. CA now has the most improved air quality in the US. We CANNOT go backwards to fast track the rich getting richer, faster. The facts are there, we cannot sacrifice Americans for profit. Unacceptable! #RemovePruitt!

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  • Loren
    01/27/2018
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    The Republican Party is a parasite engaging in class war against the American people, and against the majority of the worlds population as well.

    Like (155)
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  • Polli
    01/26/2018
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    Enabling destruction of our earth by this foolish administration is tragic and profoundly shortsighted not to mention extremely stupid.

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  • Heather
    01/27/2018
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    What a nightmare. How irresponsible. What a disservice to our children and wildlife.

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  • Sonya
    01/26/2018
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    This is so scary. A clean environment is so important to keeping our planet and all humans healthy. Eagles are finally back along the Ohio River in the Cincinnati area only because of laws that keep pollution down. Eagles won’t be the only living thing to suffer from this administrations horrific actions. Shame on anyone supporting this!!! We will vote you out!

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  • Cathleen
    01/27/2018
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    My father grew up in Pittsburgh PA. Recently visited there & saw a photo when the steel mills were going strong & there wasn’t any environmental protection. The photo was taken during the day yet because of the pollution it looked like it was nighttime! We can not go backwards!

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  • Milan
    01/26/2018
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    Pruitt - you are despicable - I hope you choke on your own polluted exhaust fumes

    Like (72)
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  • Jake-A-Rama
    01/26/2018
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    EPA is completely out of control and now in the pockets of the biggest polluters. Your White House doing a fine job screwing our children and lining the pockets of a handful of grredy bastards. VOTE DEMOCRATS 2018!

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  • Vivienne
    01/26/2018
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    This is exactly what I would expect from a major corporation bigwig who’s was placed irreverently to to “lead” the EPA. The EPA can now be considered impotent. Big business interests, big corporation greed wins again ! money money money ....you can’t take it with you when you die of cancer.

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  • groundgame
    01/27/2018
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    EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision to reverse the “once in, always in” policy for hazardous air pollutants is unacceptable. It will result in more toxic chemicals, harming air quality. I urge Congress to enact legislation that clarifies the mandate of EPA, which is to protect human health and the environment from pollution. Perhaps conservative colleagues would prefer a market-driven approach, where administrators are retained based on their ability to implement changes to remove pollution from the environment rather than be rewarded for doing less. I hope Congress can overcome willful institutional ignorance to remedy this situation suitably.

    Like (55)
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  • Mj
    01/27/2018
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    This is environmental terrorism.

    Like (54)
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  • Peggy
    01/26/2018
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    Will we be the next China and start wearing surgical masks to breathe? When does the attack on sensible rules and regulations stop?

    Like (43)
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  • Dj
    01/27/2018
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    I can’t see how anyone would think rolling back a regulation so fundamental to protecting our country’s atmosphere is a good idea. The fact that an agency that refers to itself with the words “Environmental Protection” would do so is just baffling. Infuriating. Laughable if it weren’t so tragic. Please please please vehemently oppose this bizzaro-version of the EPA and its apparent loss of vision and mission.

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  • Robert
    01/26/2018
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    What a bunch of rotten bastards who have no care what happens to their children or their children’s children in the future. They sell the future of the young for campaign donations, just ignorant bastards. America please vote smarter in the future.

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  • Marc
    01/26/2018
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    Get ready for lung cancer, asthma and a myriad other respiratory illnesses. This is sad to prioritize corporate profits over the health, safety and welfare of the American people. Remember you who voted for trump, there is no escape from these respiratory illnesses and many others that are caused by pollution of all kinds

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  • Gail
    01/26/2018
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    Greed, cruelty and ignorance. Stop poisoning the American people. Most of us would rather be able to breathe than get 5 bucks in tax cuts.

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  • Countryfirst
    01/26/2018
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    Totally unacceptable and dangerous..wish we could pump all this crap into #45's office since it is so safe..better yet, send it to congress too!!!

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  • Nicholas
    01/27/2018
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    This is inexcusable. Trump and his administration are destroying things that they are supposed to be running. Repealing this act goes against the very purpose of having an EPA. Once again Trump and his people show that making America great again really means going back to when tycoons and executives could do whatever they wanted, which apparently includes pollution, ripping off the middle and lower class, buying politicians, etc. People voted Republican and for Trump because they wanted smaller government, but now they will just have bigger government replaced by big business who only cares about profits. Profits by any means necessary.

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  • Sarafschr
    01/27/2018
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    This is obviously a very complex issue, but at the end of the day only one thing really matters. Is this repeal protecting us the people or the corporations? I believe we all know the answer. Decisions impacting our environment should not be made for the betterment of businesses, they should be made for the betterment of society.

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  • Natalie
    01/26/2018
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    Outrageous!

    Like (15)
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