The EPA will now allow a massive rise in toxic air pollution

John Westrock/Flickr

In an early Valentine to the fossil fuel lobby, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to scrap long-standing Clean Air Act protections that curb the worst kind of air pollution—arsenic, lead, and mercury, among them—at hundreds of American industrial facilities. Long sought by the oil and coal industry, these changes would allow "major" polluters that are currently subject to existing regulations to be reclassified as “area” polluters, opening a giant loophole for would-be contaminators to dramatically increase emissions. Weakening limits on such pollutants would raise the risk of cancer, brain damage, infertility, and developmental problems, especially for communities near these facilities. 

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