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Full List of Recent Actions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Credit: EPA)

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AirTaking Action on Climate Change
In December 2009, after rigorous review of the volumes of scientific evidence – and following the 2007 Supreme Court ruling that greenhouse gases are pollutants under the Clean Air Act – EPA determined that greenhouse gases threaten the health and welfare of Americans. EPA also found that GHG emissions from on-road vehicles contribute to that threat. More information on EPA’s Endangerment Finding: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment/.Carbon Pollution Standard for New Power Plants
In March 2012, EPA announced the first-ever carbon pollution standard for future fossil-fuel power plants. Power plants account for approximately 40 percent of all U.S. anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, and represent the single largest source of industrial greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. The proposed standard would ensure that new power plants use modern technology to limit this harmful pollution. The proposal includes flexible compliance provisions to facilitate use of carbon capture and storage technology by new coal or petroleum coke power plants. The common-sense proposal reflects the ongoing trend in the power sector to build cleaner plants that take advantage of modern technologies and fuels produced in the United States, and would ensure that current progress continues toward a cleaner, safer and more modern power sector. More information: http://epa.gov/carbonpollutionstandard/.

Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program
In January 2012, EPA released the first emissions data from the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, which Congress directed EPA to create in 2008. The Program requires reporting of GHG data from facilities that directly emit large quantities of GHGs, as well as suppliers of products that would emit GHGs if released or combusted. The initial data from calendar year 2010 is available through EPA’s online data publication tool. The tool allows users to view and sort data in a variety of ways, including by facility, location, industrial sector, and the type of GHG emitted. EPA intends to update the GHG data publication tool to include both 2010 and 2011 data in early 2013. More information: http://www.epa.gov/ghgreporting/ .

Setting Historic Fuel Economy Standards
In August 2012, the Obama Administration finalized groundbreaking standards that will increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025. When combined with previous standards set by this Administration for cars and light trucks for Model Years 2012-2016, this move will nearly double the fuel efficiency of those vehicles compared to new vehicles currently on our roads. In total, the Administration’s national program to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions will save consumers more than $1.7 trillion at the gas pump and reduce U.S. oil consumption by 12 billion barrels. Combined, these two standards will also cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks in half by 2025, reducing emissions by 6 billion metric tons over the life of the program – more than the total amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the United States in 2010. More information: http://epa.gov/otaq/climate/regs-light-duty.htm

In June 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals- D.C. Circuit upheld EPA’s Endangerment Finding and greenhouse gas regulations issued under the Clean Air Act (CAA), including the fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks for Model Years 2012-2016. More information: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment/ghgcourtdecision.html .

In August 2011, the Obama Administration announced the first-ever regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve fuel efficiency of heavy-duty trucks and buses. This Heavy-Duty National Program applies to combination tractors (semi trucks), heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, and vocational vehicles (including buses and refuse or utility trucks). These vehicles are required to meet an estimated combined average emissions level of 35.5 mpg over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the program for model years 2014-2018. In total, EPA estimates that the standards will reduce CO2 emissions by about 270 million metric tons and save about 530 million barrels of oil over the life of vehicles built in those model years. More information: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/climate/regs-heavy-duty.htm

Establishing First-Ever Standards on Mercury and Air Toxics from Power Plants and First SO2 Limits in Forty Years
In December 2011, EPA finalized the first national standards for emissions of mercury, arsenic and other toxic air pollution from power plants. These new standards will avert up to 11,000 premature deaths, 4,700 heart attacks and 130,000 asthma attacks every year. http://www.epa.gov/mats/ .

Additionally, under President Obama, EPA strengthened the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for Sulfur Dioxide to better protect people’s health, especially those with asthma, children and the elderly. EPA estimates that meeting the new SO2 standard will prevent 2,300 to 5,900 premature deaths associated with exposure to fine particle pollution and 54,000 asthma attacks a year. More information: http://www.epa.gov/air/sulfurdioxide/ .

Strengthening National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for Particulate Matter
In December 2012, EPA finalized an update to its national air quality standards for harmful fine particle pollution (PM2.5), including soot. Fine particle pollution can penetrate deep into the lungs and has been linked to a wide range of serious health effects, including premature death, heart attacks, and strokes, as well as acute bronchitis and aggravated asthma among children. Thanks to rules already on the books, EPA estimates that 99 percent of U.S. counties with monitors will meet the revised standards by 2020 without having to take additional action to reduce emissions, By 2030, it is expected that all rules that cut PM2.5 from diesel vehicles and equipment alone will prevent about 40,000 premature deaths, 32,000 hospital admissions and 4.7 million days of work lost due to illness.EPA estimates health benefits of the revised PM2.5 standard to range from $4 billion to over $9 billion per year, with estimated costs of implementation ranging from $53 million to $350 million. More information: http://www.epa.gov/pm

Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR)
In July 2011, EPA finalized the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule to reduce upwind state emissions that contribute to unhealthy levels of fine particles and ozone in downwind states. By leveraging widely available, proven and cost-effective control technologies, CSAPR was projected to achieve up to $280 billion in health benefits in 2014. In 2014 alone, this rule would avoid up to 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks, and 400,000 cases of aggravated asthma.

The benefits far outweigh the $800 million projected to be spent annually on this rule in 2014 and the roughly $1.6 billion per year in capital investments already under way as a result of the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR).

As of November 2012, EPA had appealed a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in August 2012 that struck down the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. Until a decision is made, CSAPR is stayed and CAIR remains in effect. More information: www.epa.gov/airtransport .

Regional Haze
States and individual facilities are taking steps to reduce regional haze that will improve visibility as well as significantly reduce harmful air pollution linked to heart and asthma attacks and premature death. EPA continues to work closely with states to take steps to put in place plans to reduce regional haze. Nearly all states and territories now have proposed plans or final approved plans in place. The regional haze program is focused on reducing haze-causing emissions from power plants and other large industries, such as cement plants and refineries. In determining requirements for regional haze, states and EPA also consider multiple factors, including steps that industry may already be making to reduce emissions in response to other regulatory programs that would also improve visibility.

WATER

EPA to Work with Drinking Water Systems to Monitor Unregulated Contaminants (05/01/2012)
In May of 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a list of 28 chemicals and two viruses that approximately 6,000 public water systems will monitor from 2013 to 2015 as part of the agency’s unregulated contaminant monitoring program, which collects data for contaminants suspected to be present in drinking water, but that do not have health-based standards set under the Safe Drinking Water Act. http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/d0cf6618525a9efb85257359003fb69d/9725165167f237b1852579f1007176e7!OpenDocument

Administrator Jackson, SBA Administrator Mills Announce Launch of Water Technology Innovation Cluster / Smart environmental protection creates jobs (01/18/2011)
On January 18, 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Lisa P. Jackson, and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Karen Mills traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio to announce a new collaborative effort called the Water Technology Innovation Cluster (WTIC). The WTIC will develop and commercialize innovative technologies to solve environmental and public health challenges, encourage sustainable economic development, and create jobs. http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/5C6E98E36238C0898525781C005B7B73

EPA To Develop Regulation for Perchlorate and Toxic Chemicals in Drinking Water (02/02/2011)
In February 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson today announced the agency’s decision to move forward with the development of a regulation for perchlorate to protect Americans from any potential health impacts, while also continuing to take steps to ensure the quality of the water they drink. The decision to undertake a first-ever national standard for perchlorate reverses a decision made by the previous administration and comes after Administrator Jackson ordered EPA scientists to undertake a thorough review of the emerging science of perchlorate. http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/bd4379a92ceceeac8525735900400c27/6348845793f4cc5d8525782b004d81ae!OpenDocument

EPA Takes Action on Mountaintop Mining
EPA and federal agencies commit to actions to significantly reduce the harmful environmental impacts of Appalachian mountaintop mining operations. EPA acts on its commitment by issuing comprehensive permit review guidance, developing and publishing new peer-reviewed science, and exercising its Clean Water Act authorities to prevent unacceptable impacts, safeguard streams, and protect Appalachian communities. Link: http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/guidance/wetlands/mining.cfm

EPA Leads Formation of Urban Waters Federal Partnership (06/24/2011)
In June of 2011, eleven federal agencies form the Urban Waters Federal Partnership to revitalize urban waterways across the nation. The partnership announced pilot locations for initial efforts to stimulate regional and local economies, create local jobs, improve quality of life, and protect Americans’ health by supporting community revitalization of urban waterways in under-served communities. Link: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/1e5ab1124055f3b28525781f0042ed40/aa54f9b8b6973174852578b9006de17c!OpenDocument

California deemed Largest Coastal No-Discharge Zone (2012)
In 2012, the 1,624 miles of California coastline, from Mexico to Oregon, and surrounding major islands were deemed a no-discharge zone by the EPA as a ban was placed on large cruise ships and other large ocean-going ships from discharging any sewage into California’s marine waters. Over 20 million gallons of vessel sewage is kept off the state’s beaches, a boon to the state’s economy, helping to protect marine species, fisheries, residents and tourists. link: http://www.epa.gov/region9/mediacenter/nodischarge/

EPA Recommends New Recreational Water Quality Criteria to Better Protect Public Health (11/26/2012)
Pursuant to an order from a U.S. District Court and as required by the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act of 2000, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today recommended new recreational water quality criteria for states that will help protect peoples’ health during visits to beaches and waters year round. http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/d0cf6618525a9efb85257359003fb69d/9ae00cdef4fcbb9b85257ac20067e738!OpenDocument

Obama Administration Releases Report on Progress and Next Steps in Restoring the Everglades, Announces Additional $80 Million in Project Funding / Over $1.5 Billion Invested in the Everglades Since 2009; USDA To Fund Fourth Year of Easements for Water Quality, Wildlife Habitat Improvements in the Northern Everglades Watershed (07/13/2012)
The Obama Administration today released a report outlining the historic Federal investments and progress made in Everglades restoration under the leadership of President Obama, and announced $80 million in additional funding to support farmers and ranchers who voluntarily conserve wetlands on agricultural land in the Northern Everglades Watershed. This new investment, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), will restore an additional 23,000 acres of wetlands vital to water quality and wildlife habitat in the Everglades system. http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/3881d73f4d4aaa0b85257359003f5348/9ecce6ff6a53c54f85257a3a0067e955!OpenDocument

EPA Launches New Strategy to Promote Use of Green Infrastructure for Environmental and Economic Benefits (04/29/2011)
In April of 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched a new strategy to promote the use of green infrastructure by cities and towns to reduce stormwater runoff that pollutes our nation’s streams, creeks, rivers, lakes and coastal waters. Green infrastructure decreases pollution to local waterways by treating rain where it falls and keeping polluted stormwater from entering sewer systems. In addition to protecting Americans’ health by decreasing water pollution, green infrastructure provides many community benefits including increased economic activity and neighborhood revitalization, job creation, energy savings and increased recreational and green space. http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/3881d73f4d4aaa0b85257359003f5348/5390e840bf0a54d785257881004f96d1!OpenDocument

EPA Announces Framework to Help Local Governments Manage Stormwater Runoff and Wastewater (06/12/2012)

In June of 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a new framework to help local governments meet their Clean Water Act obligations. The Integrated Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater Planning Approach Framework assists EPA regional offices, states, and local governments to develop voluntary storm and wastewater management plans and implement effective integrated approaches that will protect public health by reducing overflows from wastewater systems and pollution from stormwater. In developing the framework, the EPA worked in close coordination with a variety of stakeholders, including publicly owned treatment works, state water permitting authorities, local governments, and nonprofit environmental groups. http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/AB2035971BAB1AD485257A1B006F25B1

EPA Establishes Landmark Chesapeake Bay ‘Pollution Diet’ (12/29/2010)
In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established a landmark “pollution diet” to restore clean water in Chesapeake Bay and the region’s streams, creeks and rivers. This pollution diet is driven primarily by jurisdictions’ plans to put all needed pollution controls in place by 2025 and EPA will hold jurisdictions accountable for results along the way. http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/90829d899627a1d98525735900400c2b/c15f64f4d172edff852578080061fa30!OpenDocument

United States and Canada Sign Amended Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement / Agreement will protect the health of the largest freshwater system in the world (09/07/2012)
In September of 2012, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and Canada’s Minister of the Environment Peter Kent signed the newly amended Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement at a formal ceremony in Washington, D.C. First signed in 1972 and last amended in 1987, the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement is a model of binational cooperation to protect the world’s largest surface freshwater system and the health of the surrounding communities. http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/bd4379a92ceceeac8525735900400c27/9e6415ec5260e5c885257a7200669766!OpenDocument

 

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