American Elephants

The EPA Is At It Again! Environmental Zealotry In Pursuit of Power. by The Elephant's Child

The EPA is at it again. Having little to do that is useful, the EPA has gone after “fine particles” under the theory that anything in the air should be removed. A while back they were talking about regulating farm dust, but were essentially laughed out of town. Now they have turned to wood-burning stoves and fireplace inserts in the United States.

About 12 percent of American homes use wood stoves for heat. They are more common in rural areas. Again, the EPA is attempting to reduce “particle pollution” with new rules. Instead of limiting fine airborne particulate emissions to 15 micrograms per cubic meter of air, the change will impose a maximum 12 micrograms. That’s equivalent to a person smoking 3 to 4 cigarettes in a small confined space. The draconian EPA regulations will be spread out beginning in March and the rest in five to eight years. Stoves currently in use will not be affected yet, but getting them repaired will become more difficult.

Fireplaces are not yet included, but are being looked at. They are part of future research. Environmental zealots recognize no boundaries for their zealotry and control. Consider barbecues and fire pits. Forced air furnaces will also face drastic cuts and are headed for extinction over the next five years unless they can meet  near-impossible limits to their emissions.

The EPA is in pursuit of pure air. They are generous about making up statistics about how many people will die if exposed to a certain “pollutant.” Asthma has been one of their favorites. Physicians don’t know what causes asthma, so the EPA feels free to list statistical numbers of future asthma deaths.

Regulations like these are forced through with fake lawsuits through a corrupt scheme known as “sue and settle.” This allows the EPA more freedom in advancing harsh regulations on the public. According to Senator David Vitter (R-LA) this is how it works:

A far-left environmental group sues a federal department or agency, like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), claiming that the government is not satisfying its regulatory obligations. Then, after the group and the EPA plan and discuss the matter – without the involvement of any others, including affected business, landowners, and state and local governments – they draft a settlement agreement committing the agency to regulate a certain sector of the economy or type of private property. All that’s left is to get the presiding judge to bless their friendly agreement.

There’s even a bonus prize in this scheme. Because such a settlement is counted as a “win” for the environmental group plaintiff, that suing group is awarded all of its costs and attorney’s fees, creating a revolving fund for its continuing activity, courtesy of our wallets.

Thus the left, including the Obama Administration, advances its aggressive environmental agenda. No need for messy Congressional hearings or opposing arguments.

During the first term of the Obama Administration, the EPA entered into more than 60 “sue and settle” agreements with environmental allies, including 34 lawsuits by the Sierra Club, 20 by WildEarth Guardians and 9 from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

One of the most successful on the EPA’s part, and most damaging to states are the “regional haze requirements under the Clean Air Act,” which are costing states hundreds of millions of dollars. Other regulations imposed by “sue and settle” chicanery are regulations on power plants, refineries, mining operations, cement plants, chemical manufacturers, and anything to do with coal.

The aim of the EPA seems to be control and power. Environmental zealots range from those who want no one messing up their enjoyment of the outdoors to those who would prefer to turn the earth back to a more pristine age, preferably without annoying humans.

(h/t: The Independent Sentinel)


6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

This time properly formatted. Please delete the PREVIOUS posting.

Hundreds of peer-reviewed studies have shown that fine particulates of combustion adversely affect human health — even children in the womb (because the finest particulates get into the bloodstream). Hardly the same thing as soil particles kicked up by farm machinery.

That is not to argue that the benefit-cost ratio of this particular move is positive. I can’t comment there. But I do question your use of the word “draconian”.

Instead of limiting fine airborne particulate emissions to 15 micrograms per cubic meter of air, the change will impose a maximum 12 micrograms.

So, that’s a 20% reduction in the emissions. According to the EPA,

Today’s wood stove models feature improved safety and efficiency. They produce almost no smoke, minimal ash, and require less firewood. While older uncertified stoves release 15 to 30 grams of smoke per hour; new EPA-certified stoves produce only 2 to 7 grams of smoke per hour.

Their list shows hundreds of new models that meet the standard for certification (7.5 grams per hour for non-catalytic wood stoves and 4.1 grams per hour for catalytic wood stoves) easily. So sounds as if they are simply locking in an emission limit that is already twice as high as emissions from stoves already available on the market.

The question is, as you point out, will this eventually affect existing stoves and refurbishments. Do you have evidence to suggest that it will?

That’s equivalent to a person smoking 3 to 4 cigarettes in a small confined space.

Just to be clear, are you saying that an emission concentration of 12 µg/m3 is the same concentration left behind by a smoker smoking 3-4 cigarettes in a confined space, albeit in a continuous flow?


Comment by Subsidy Eye

I suspect you exaggerate on the “hundreds of studies.” Secondhand smoke has been shown to have no connection to cancer. Doctors have recently determined that kids with dramatic peanut allergies can be able to tolerate exposure after a long course of tiny amounts of peanuts. I have understood that farm kids seldom have asthma, because they are exposed to so much particulates, dander, animals, plant harvest and so on, and that it’s city kids that suffer the worst asthma. I’m not sure of the latter, but it would make sense. I have seen the EPA lie too much with made-up statistics to believe anything they say. I think they are a crooked agency in pursuit of power, and completely unethical. Their pursuit of ever lower mpg and more use of ethanol and other biofuels is an example. Future cars will be much smaller and made of different stuff. Ford’s new aluminum truck is an example. We’ll have ever-rising price of cars, with less safety— for no particular reason. Your quotation of what the EPA says may or may not be true. You cannot believe them. I want to see the agency completely abolished. They’ve sicced the Corps of Engineers on to the Environmental agency that helped the Sacketts win their case against having their lake view lot falsely claimed to be a wetland. Crooked, crooked, crooked.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

I type these keywords into google scholar — human morbidity fine particulates — and I get almost 23,000 references. I don’t think that “hundreds” is an exaggeration.

A body’s response to allergens like peanut protein is not the same as its response to fine particles. We’re talking about chemical and physical effects (e.g., clogging of tiny airways), not the triggering of a response of a body’s immune system. Fine particles are easily inhaled deep into the lungs where they can remain embedded for long periods of time, or even pass into the bloodstream.

Also, the relatively large scale of most particles of a biological origin, or from dirt dust, that people are exposed to on a farm are more easily tolerated. They get coughed up or dissolve, rather than gum up the works. Ultra-fine particles — especially soot from the incomplete combustion of fuel — are generally more prevalent in cities than in the countryside.

So, don’t believe the EPA. How about the American Lung Association?


Comment by Subsidy Eye

Sorry, I’m not impressed by numbers of references on Google. Most will be repetitions, the value of any particular “study” is not confirmed by its presence on a Google list. All sorts of “peer-reviewed studies” were cited to prove global warming, for example, and proved to be ignorant. This administration is notable for the extent to which “investigations” or SWAT team invasions by assorted federal agencies are suddenly called for, curiously to investigate the president’s opponents. IRS, EPA. Fish and Wildlife, Justice, and who knows who else. If you are not paying attention to the IRS scandal, it continues, and the object is to discourage or block donations that might go the Republicans. Many NGOs have been shown to be political in nature, and many foundations established in good faith by men of good will, are now directed to political purpose.
Small government, free markets and free people. Frightening for the Left for they cannot control it, but a fount of innovation and growth.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

Sorry, I’m not impressed by numbers of references on Google. Most will be repetitions, …

Yes in the case of normal Google; much less so in the case of Google Scholar. Have you had a look? Here’s some of the first few titles:

“Epidemiology of fine particulate air pollution and human health: biologic mechanisms and who’s at risk?”

“Cytotoxicity and Induction of Proinflammatory Cytokines from Human Monocytes Exposed to Fine (PM2.5) and Coarse Particles (PM10–2.5) in Outdoor and Indoor Air”

“Air pollution and acute respiratory morbidity: an observational study of multiple pollutants”

“Fine particles and human health—a review of epidemiological studies”

The links are to papers published in journals such as Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, Toxicology Letters, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, and Circulation (the journal of the American Heart Association).

… the value of any particular “study” is not confirmed by its presence on a Google list. All sorts of “peer-reviewed studies” were cited to prove global warming, for example, and proved to be ignorant.

Google Scholar does not distinguish good from bad articles, that is true. My point simply was that effects on human health of air-borne particulate matter have been studied in depth, and for decades. This is not a health issue that was dreamed up by zealots.

Skepticism is healthy. But your reaction here goes well beyond skepticism. What evidence (if any) on this topic DO you trust?

The rest of your comment (beginning with “This Administration … .”) is irrelevant to the subject at hand.


Comment by Subsidy Eye

Where I grew up, Subsidy, in the most pristine mountain air possible, at a certain time of year there was a condition of general haze — something the zealots at EPA are vigorously pursuing. Caused by forest fires, sometimes as far away as Montana. I lived in LA when the smog was at its worst. The basic problem was that LA was a natural desert basin that kept all the bad stuff in, and a city should never have been built there. Bad geography, no water, natural desert. It’s been cleaned up somewhat with catalytic converters, I don’t know how well, because I will never go back there under any circumstances. Cesspool. I think the Clean Air Act was intended to deal with things like LA smog. Not to attack people’s cook stoves and home heating. So fine particulates may damage people’s lungs, after how much exposure to what degree of particulates over what extended period of time? Does it actually matter? There are all sorts of hazards to life and health, mostly natural in origin. The Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act were deliberately poorly defined, because Congress didn’t know what they were talking about and shoved it off onto a newly created agency. That mistake has done far more damage than any fine particulates. When the power goes out here, everybody builds fires in their fireplaces to keep warm. If it stays out over a long period, you get a general haze, depending on the wind conditions, and some fine particulates I imagine. So? If there is a steady source, over time, that is constantly at a damaging level, then perhaps some public information is called for. I don’t think the country is better off because of a bullying agency attempting to control people’s lives.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: