Two groups that’re pushing for tougher federal clean air standards for coal powered electric plants have put Iowa on their list of states they say have the most toxic air pollution from those plants. Iowa is ranked 20th in the “Toxic 20” list put out by the Natural Resources Defense Council (N-R-D-C) and Physicians for Social Responsibility, even though only 16% of the air pollution comes from electric power plants.
In a conference call, N-R-D-C director of climate programs, Dan Lashof, said tougher standards are needed to prevent health risks. He says the standards are expected to be finalized in November, and the EPA is taking public comments through August 4th. Lashof says, “Despite the health benefits of reducing toxic pollution from power plants, some polluters and members of congress are seeking to block EPA’s efforts to update public health protections.”
Lashof was asked if Iowans should look at other forms of industrial pollution as being more worthy of attention since electric plant pollution ranks fourth among sources in the state. Lashof says the answer is that we should be cleaning up all sources of industrial pollution and EPA has a rule that requires the reduction of other sources of industrial pollution as well. He says Iowa shouldn’t discount the impact of electric plants, even though they aren’t as big a pollution sources as other states.
Lashof says the message should be that “electric power is one of the top sources” and nationally it is the biggest source of industrial pollution, but state-by-state there are other sources that are important, and we should be reducing all of them. Iowa was the only state in the top 20 where electric power didn’t rank as first or second for industrial pollution.
Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Kentucky and Maryland were the top five states. Visit: www.nrdc.org for more information.