EPA today took an important step toward reversing one of the Bush Administration’s “midnight regulations,” announcing a proposed rule that would improve monitoring standards for airborne lead. Under EPA’s new proposal, any establishment that emits lead into the air at a rate of a half a ton per year or more could be required to have a monitoring station.
In a previous post I noted that EPA finalized a rule in late 2008 that only required monitoring at sites with emissions topping 1 ton per year, after a last-minute entreaty from the lead battery industry and some of their accomplices at OMB. EPA had originally proposed a threshold somewhere in the 0.2 to 0.6 tons per year range.
After President Obama took over the White House and put Lisa Jackson in charge of the EPA, several environmental and public health groups petitioned the agency to reconsider the lead monitoring requirements. The newly proposed monitoring requirements are EPA’s response to the petition.
Monitoring stations that detect airborne lead are important to EPA because they help the agency determine whether existing emissions controls are keeping lead below the health-based ambient air quality limits set under the Clean Air Act.
Besides lowering the threshold for site-specific lead monitors (which EPA estimates could more than double the number of site-specific monitors), the agency is also proposing a different network of non-site-specific monitors. The non-site-specific monitors are intended to measure typical ...