EPA chief twisted particulate pollution advice, say scientists

U.S. EPA chief Stephen Johnson “twisted” and “misrepresented” recommendations on regulating soot and dust pollution from the agency’s own air-quality experts, according to, um, the agency’s own air-quality experts. In an unprecedented move, the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee is urging Johnson to change course on the pollution proposals he announced in December, which ignore the scientists’ haze-reduction advice, significantly weaken their recommendations on controlling the smallest, most health-hazardous particles of soot, and — most controversially — propose entirely eliminating regulation of dust in the agriculture and mining industries in rural areas. Several panel members say Johnson misleadingly credited the committee with supporting these exemptions. Bart Ostro of the California EPA says the White House Office of Management and Budget, along with industry trade associations, played major roles in gutting the particulate controls.