A Mixed Victory En Route to Stopping Air Pollution

In the current issue of the CACC News, CACC congratulated Bill Freese and the Huron Environmental Activist League, HEAL, for what appeared to be a substantial court victory by a national coalition (including HEAL and their long-standing fight to stop cement kiln air pollution – and also pollution from dirty coal plants.) Unfortunately, the victory is a bit mixed, and congratulations came a little soon, as
Bill Freese, HEAL Director, explains here:
I have to say that spending the winter in Florida was one of the best decisions we have made in quite some time, especially this past winter. Except for a few days that you northerners left the doors open, it was perfect. Lots of warm days and the pool temperature was about 88 degrees, most of the time.Much nicer than what we heard most of you had to put up with.
We were able to keep up with all that was happening with our suit against the EPA. We did have a win although it was not as complete as we had hoped. The U.S. Court of Appeals agreed with us and denied the loophole that would have exempted cement kilns from penalties and violations for exceeding emission during upsets. Upsets are a common occurrence at cement plants and those emissions add a
lot of pollutants when they happen. This ruling, plus Lafarge complying with the consent order in November, will reduce emissions from that facility here in Alpena, Michigan by over 90 percent. I have many calls from those watching the stacks, of only seeing steam. The orange, brown and dark emissions have not been seen.
We had thought that cases that had been taken to the Court of Appeals that had been ruled in our favor and violated by the EPA would be back before the same Justices. Not so, and we now know that thereare some Justices that are not as pro-environment as others. That is why there was a split decision that gave the EPA until, we hope no longer, than September of 2015 to set the rules for the Clean Air Act.
We will be back in court on another suit probably before October of this year. It is the CISWI air toxics challenge against the USEPA. CISWI stands for Commerci
al Industrial Solid Waste Incineration and whatit boils down to, is that the USEPA would allow just about every type of facility to incinerate its own hazardous wastes. With the lax enforcement of the USEPA and our own MDNR & DEQ this is a real can of worms.
This is Just another poor decision of the USEPA which reward polluters. The burn-to-earn facilities are really pushing for this to be approved. They tried this in 2007 and it was denied by the Court then. Environmental Protection should not be included in their name.