Low-income and minority communities will now be more protected from toxic chemicals

Apr 10, 2024

On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rule that will require chemical plants to reduce their emissions of cancer-causing chemicals. As a result, the number of people with elevated cancer risk is expected to decrease by 96 percent. The rule will bring long-overdue environmental justice to low-income and minority communities that are disproportionately located near such plants.

The rule will apply to about 200 chemical plants, specifically targeting ethylene oxide, which is used to sterilize medical devices, and chloroprene, which is used to make rubber. To comply with the new regulations, chemical manufacturers will need to monitor emissions near the fence lines of their operations and plug any leaks of chemicals from vents and storage tanks.

The final rule advances President Joe Biden’s commitment to environmental justice, but there is more work to be done. To bolster President Biden’s conservation legacy, other proposed rules still need to be finalized, like the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed Oil and Gas Rule, which would implement much-needed updates to the oil and gas leasing system, and the Public Lands Rule, which would put conservation on equal footing with other uses of public land, including drilling, mining, grazing, and recreation. These rules need to be finalized in the coming weeks in order to protect them from potential repeal under the Congressional Review Act.

Quick hits

EPA limits toxic air pollution from chemical plants

Washington Post | Axios | The Guardian | Grist

Wyoming wind industry dodged new taxes in 2024, but not without raising some eyebrows

Inside Climate News

Reclamation slows flows through Glen Canyon Dam to address damage

E&E News

Is the ailing Great Salt Lake improving? Flyover photos show its current state

Salt Lake Tribune

Southern California will hike water rates and taxes to cover rising costs and conservation efforts

Los Angeles Times

Letter to the editor: Ask BLM to close lands to oil and gas leasing

Billings Gazette

Fury over Wyoming wolf torture allegations sparks demands for steeper penalties, reform


Outdoor gear industry facing challenges after “insane” post-pandemic growth

Denver Post

Quote of the day

We cannot have a healthy society without a healthy environment.”

—Troy Carter, congressman for Louisiana’s second district, The Guardian


Picture This

A distant Butte in Idaho with snow on it, while the sun illuminates the sky golden
@mypubliclandsWe like big buttes and we cannot lie….

Big Southern Butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old, it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot-high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views of Idaho.

Devin Englestead; Bureau of Land Management – Idaho

#TravelTuesday #Idaho #GemState #VisitIdaho #BigSouthernButte #YourPublicLands #IdahoPublicLands


(Featured image: Chemical plant in La Porte, Texas. Alexander Hatley, Wikimedia Commons)