EPA proposal on soot emissions ignores scientists, ticks off enviros

Finally getting around to updating air-quality standards that were supposed to be revised in 2002, the U.S. EPA late last month unveiled a proposal that pleases … nobody. It would lower the daily limit for fine-soot pollution, which comes from coal-fired power plants, cars, and a number of other sources, but make no change to the average annual limit. “I made my decision based on the best available science,” said EPA administrator Stephen Johnson, even though the EPA’s scientific advisory board had recommended tougher standards. Enviros and public-health advocates called the proposal a giveaway to industry and a health threat. Some 60,000 Americans die prematurely each year due to air pollution, according to the American Lung Association. Electric-utility officials, meanwhile, complained that the standards are too stringent. The proposal is open to public comment for 90 days.