By CELESTE BOTT
Capital News Service
LANSING – Michigan has reduced overall air pollution since 2012, but its most populous counties still don’t earn a passing grade, according to a new report from the American Lung Association. Its State of the Air report provides grades of A to F in two areas: particle pollution and ozone action days. The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) declares ozone days when smog and weather conditions create the risk of health problems.
Wayne and Macomb counties received failing grades in the ozone day category. Other counties that failed include Allegan and Muskegon, while Oakland, Ottawa and St. Clair received Ds.
By SAODAT ASANOVA-TAYLOR
Capital News Service
LANSING – Environmental protection advocates are urging legislators to support the federal mercury and air toxic standards in the Clean Air Act, but the electric utility industry say, that would create a huge burden. The standards proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would require coal-and oil-fired electric power plants to reduce mercury and other emissions by more than 90 percent. Congressional opponents of the proposal say the standards are too costly and would force the premature closing of power plants, eliminate hundreds of jobs and threaten the supply of electricity. Hugh McDiarmid Jr, communications director of the Michigan Environmental Council, said mercury is dangerous. “Michigan’s Great Lakes are polluted with mercury.
Following a 2010 study of air pollution, the Environmental Protection Agency will be taking new steps this December to reinforce national regulations for mercury and carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. Anyone who has heard of global warming surely knows the dangers of high carbon dioxide emissions to our planet. But the health risks of airborne mercury are not as well understood. “When mercury gets in the atmosphere, it rains or snows, and brings it down into the watershed. Then it runs off into the streams, and from the streams into the rivers and back into the Great Lakes and into the fish,” said Dr. Frank D’Itri, a retired fisheries and wildlife professor at Michigan State University.