• Please join us for the CAB Community Meeting, usually held on the first Thursday of every month at 7:00PM. Please check Posts for speaker information, time, and location.

    Community meetings are generally held at Second Presbyterian Church, 528 Garland Drive, Carlisle, PA

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Volkswagen’s “Clean Diesel” Emissions – What Went Wrong?

Recently, Volkswagen admitted that it had programmed its clean diesel engines to turn on full emissions controls only when the car was in test mode. This enabled VW diesel cars to pass emissions testing, but did not reflect real emissions during on-the-road driving conditions.  High nitrogen oxide emissions resulted, which was discovered by a West Virginia University researcher.

Kevin Stewart, American Lung Association’s Director of Environmental Health in the Mid-Atlantic Region, will explain how Volkswagen illegally bypassed emission controls and increased air pollution from these diesel vehicles.  Join us at our community meeting at Second Presbyterian Church, October 1, 7 pm.

For additional information, go to:  NYTimes – Volkswagen Recall

Pennsylvania’s Clean Power Plan – What Would You Tell the Governor?

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection is holding listening sessions around the state to solicit comments about the EPA’s Clean Power rules, which were finalized this summer.  DEP would like to hear from you about your concerns and the means to achieve Pennsylvania’s targets for carbon reductions.  There is an upcoming listening session in York on Oct. 5, 2015,(2-5 pm) at  the Wyndham Garden, 2000 Loucks Road, York, PA  17408

Learn about the Clean Power Plan at our community meeting and tell us the points you want the Governor to hear if you cannot attend the DEP listening session.

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Clean Air Board heard on WITF’s Smart Talk

The American Lung Association’s “State of the Air” report for 2015 concluded the Harrisburg-York-Lebanon region has the 12th worst air in the nation for year-round particle pollution.  The region actually lost ground finishing 33rd in 2014.

The drop in rankings doesn’t mean the region’s air quality is worse, but is still a reason to be concerned.

How did it get that way and maybe the better question is what can be done to improve the region’s air quality?

Appearing on Monday’s Smart Talk to answer those questions and others are Margaret Parsons, the Healthy Air Campaign Coordinator with the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic and Thomas Au, President of the Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania.

Listen to the broadcast: WITF Smart Talk

CAB guest editorial in the Sentinel

The American Lung Association’s “State of the Air” report for 2015 contained some daunting news for Central Pennsylvania: the Harrisburg-York-Lebanon region was listed as 12th worst in the nation for particle pollution.

This seems like a dramatic slide in the wrong direction; in the 2014 report our region had been listed as 33rd worst in the nation in this category. Is our air dramatically worse than it has been in the past?

On June 19, 2015 the Sentinel published CAB’s view of the data.  For the full text of the guest editorial, go to: Sentinel – CAB guest editorial

Is our local air quality getting better or worse?

American Lung Association’s 2015 “State of the Air” report suggests that local air quality has not improved. Southcentral Pennsylvania has dropped to 12th worst among metropolitan areas for particle pollution.

What does the data show? Come to our community meeting as we discuss the data behind the report.  Is our air cleaner or dirtier?

The Clean Air Board will be meeting on May 7 at 7 pm at Second Presbyterian Church, 528 Garland Drive, Carlisle PA

American Lung Association releases State of the Air report

What’s theState of Your Air?

For 16 years, the American Lung Association has analyzed data from official air quality monitors to compile the State of the Air report. The more you learn about the air you breathe, the more you can protect your health and take steps to make our air cleaner and healthier.

Report Card: What’s the Grade for Your Air?

For answers, go to: http://www.stateoftheair.org/

CAB Comment on DEP’s smog plan

Comments on DEP smog plan to the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board by Thomas Y. Au, President of the Clean Air Board, May 29, 2014

Summer will soon be here and that can mean high levels of pollutants in our air, specifically ozone and small particles, commonly known as smog. Meteorologists declare “Air Quality Action” days when they project that weather conditions are conducive for unhealthy air pollution. In 2012, an extremely hot year, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) called eleven “action days” for the Susquehanna Valley due to high concentrations of ozone. In 2013, DEP called four action days in the Susquehanna Valley due to ozone.

We should heed those warnings. Recent scientific studies conclude that short-term exposure to unhealthy air pollution can have significant adverse effects on pregnant women, children, the elderly, and even the general population–especially those with pre-existing conditions such as asthma. There is increasing scientific evidence that exposure to ozone can lead to neurological disorders. Short term symptoms resulting from breathing high levels of ozone and fine particulate include chest pain, coughing, nausea, throat irritation, and congestion. These pollutants also aggravate 
bronchitis, heart disease, emphysema, and asthma—and can increase risks of stroke. Children, senior citizens, and those with asthma or other respiratory problems are urged to limit outdoor activities during action days.

Air Quality Action days are often declared when there is little wind and when the amount of ozone or particles in stagnant air are projected to exceed federal health standards. Smog is caused when chemicals including nitrogen oxides react in sunlight, forming ground-level ozone. Coal fired power plants are the single largest source of smog-causing pollutants in Pennsylvania. While nearly all of the state’s largest coal plants have the technology to reduce nitrogen oxides, many do not use the available technology. The Clean Air Act requires that existing sources of emissions which contribute to the ozone problem install reasonably available control technology. Reasonably available control technology (RACT) is defined as the lowest emission limitation that a particular source is capable of meeting by the application of control technology that is reasonably available considering technological and economic feasibility. Accordingly, RACT determinations must set limits as rigorous as could be met through use of feasible control technology.

The proposed regulation does not set reasonably available control technology for Pennsylvania coal plants anywhere close to the what can be achieved through control technology. Most of Pennsylvania coal plants have highly effective NOx emission controls installed, such as Selective Catalytic Reduction (“SCR”) and low NOx burners. However, in the emission limits proposed, the RACT NOx emission limit for a coal-fired boiler would be an extremely permissive range of between 0.45 lbs/MMBtu and 0.20 lbs/MMBtu. See Proposed 25 Pa. Code § 121.97(g)(1)(v)-(vi). These limits are far higher than recent emissions history and higher than RACT limits set in nearby states. The Sierra Club has submitted detailed information to the Department to document this point. (Sierra Club letter, Jan. 17, 2014)

This proposed limit is not only based on technology inferior to that already in place at nearly all coal-fired power plants in Pennsylvania, but is also significantly more permissive than what those facilities are capable of achieving. In fact, under the averaging rule proposed the coal plants would not need to achieve these limits during ozone action days. See Proposed 25 Pa. Code § 129.98(a). This is like bypassing your catalytic converter in your car to save a few pennies.

The most serious health risks from ozone are associated with high energy demand days when the non-SCR units are almost certain to be operating. Therefore it is imperative that these units be capable of curtailing their NOx emissions on these days so that they comply with emission limits consistent with the installation and operation of reasonably available emission technology found elsewhere in this region.

We continue to suffer from high ozone days during the summer. Air quality in Pennsylvania continues to violate national ambient air quality standards. To achieve compliance with the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS, reductions from all major sectors — in-state stationary sources, in-state mobile sources, and out-of-state stationary sources — are essential. This proposed regulation needs to be revised to achieve real reductions in smog causing pollutants.

Your comments on this proposal can be submitted directly to the Environmental Quality Board by June 30, 2014.

Online Comments

Comments, including the one page summary, may be submitted to the EQB by accessing the EQB’s Online Public Comment System at:

http://www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/RegComments

Note regarding the online system: If an acknowledgement of comments submitted online is not received by the sender within two business days, the comments should be re-sent to the EQB to ensure receipt.

Written Comments

Written comments and summaries can also be mailed to Environmental Quality Board, P.O. Box 8477, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8477.

All comments must be received by the EQB on or before the close of the public comment period.

Support clean burning wood-heaters

Less wood smoke means healthier air

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed new limits on harmful air pollution from new wood-burning devices. These devices, such as boilers, furnaces, and stoves, can subject a neighborhood to dangerous air pollution. Wood smoke, which contains soot, carbon monoxide, and other toxic air pollutants, can trigger asthma attacks, cause cancer, and even cut short lives.

Wood smoke can pollute a neighborhood and can travel miles away. That means people who live nearby and far away can suffer from inhaling wood smoke. Strong standards will help ensure that new wood burning devices are much cleaner and do not further pollute our air. EPA needs to adopt these long-overdue standards to protect our health and our neighborhoods from harmful wood smoke-related air pollutants.

To send a comment to EPA, click on the American Lung Association link: http://bit.ly/Rowbtg