By Steve Gillett and Alex GibneyU.
S. regulators are expected to recommend banning the use of a widely used air cleaner that can emit CO2 into the atmosphere as a way to reduce pollution, but will leave it up to individual states and cities to decide how they would implement the ban.
The U.S.’s Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce its recommendation in a letter to President Donald Trump on Thursday.
It comes amid concerns that air pollution, which causes health problems and damages the economy, is rising in the United States, with several states already announcing plans to ban outdoor air pollution.
The Clean Air Act requires states to take actions to reduce the harmful effects of air pollution and to implement policies to protect public health, while the Clean Water Act requires the EPA to set pollution standards that are more stringent than federal rules.EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has previously suggested that states could opt to allow more pollution-free air to enter the country, while states could also decide to ban some pollutants in their own states.
The agency could also require cities to limit outdoor air pollutants to levels that comply with federal guidelines.
“While it’s important to consider how best to limit the health effects of pollutants from coal, gas, oil, and other fossil fuels, there are many other ways to reduce air pollution,” EPA Administrator Scott D. Pruitt said in a statement earlier this year.
“We can’t afford to continue allowing the harmful health effects to go unchecked.
We need to work together to find a solution that works for everyone, not just those at the top of the economic ladder.”
State and local governments would have the final say on the issue.
“Our goal is to keep the public safe from air pollution while also providing the resources to manage air pollution that impacts public health,” the agency said in its letter to Trump.
The EPA would not say how many air cleaners are currently on the market and what types of pollution they can emit.
Some experts say the EPA is likely to be looking at two types of air cleaners: the newer, carbon-neutral cleaner CO2 Plus and a less-costly cleaner that emits CO2.
The agency’s proposal comes as lawmakers are weighing whether to reinstate President Donald J. Trump’s Clean Power Plan, which would require states to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent by 2025.
The plan would also limit the amount of carbon dioxide pollution that could enter the atmosphere from existing power plants, but states could decide to make some of their own decisions about what they would do.
The White House has not commented on the EPA’s proposal, but has said it is “open to working with states to ensure the health of Americans and the environment.”
The proposal is also opposed by the American Lung Association, which said in an emailed statement that “a national ban on CO2-emission air cleaners is not the best way to achieve any goal of reducing air pollution.”
The American Petroleum Institute, the industry’s lobbying arm, also opposes a national ban.
“The EPA is using a flawed model to try to make the case that we can get emissions down by forcing states to make decisions about the kinds of emissions they want to keep from entering the atmosphere,” said John Stemberger, executive director of the AAPI.
“It’s really about political power, and it’s not a rational and responsible approach.”
While the EPA has not released a complete list of carbon-emissions sources, EPA researchers have found that air cleaner emissions from cars, trucks and buses are responsible for about 20 percent of the nation’s air pollution from coal-burning power plants.