Environmental Law Blog
Get the Lead Out
The Attorney General's Office appeared before the EPA yesterday in order to provide comment on EPA's ongoing review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for lead. (For a "primer" on the Missouri Air Conservation Law, see below).
EPA issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR), inviting input from interested industry professionals, government officials, and concerned citizens on policy options and other issues related to the EPA's NAAQS for lead. Specifically, EPA asked us (the public) for help in informing the EPA's future decisions on the adequacy of the current lead NAAQS.
The Attorney General's Office responded to EPA's call by agreeing with the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee's recommendation to substantially lower the level of the primary (public-health based) lead NAAQS.
The Attorney General's Office further recommended that the EPA evaluate the lead NAAQS based on the highest monthly reading, rather than the second highest, as proposed by some industry groups. Missouri believes that, due to the increased concern in public health circles regarding the gravity of the health risks posed by lead contamination, why not take the most health-protective stance . . . particularly when all data shows that the most vulnerable to lead poisoning are our children?
Finally, the Attorney General's Office recommended that the EPA require current lead contaminant sources to immediately develop new State Implementation Plans (SIPs) if they are located in areas that have been classified as "nonattainment" under the current NAAQs. The EPA's current proposal allows those known sources to use the SIPs developed under the old NAAQs for lead during a grace period of 5 years. The Attorney General's Office argued that these air contaminant sources should be required to immediately start assembling plans to meet the lower standard.
Missouri is the only state in the nation with an ambient air quality region classified as nonattainment for lead. We, therefore, have a much stronger interest in how nonattainment areas are treated under the proposed rule. Do you agree with the Attorney General's position? Or, should the EPA allow all lead sources at least five years to control their emissions?