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Monday, June 24, 2024

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America's 'Radical Elders' continue their work for fairness, justice; SCOTUS upholds law disarming domestic abusers; Workplace adoption benefits help families, communities; Report examines barriers to successful post-prison re-entry in NC.

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A congresswoman celebrates Biden protections for mixed status families, Louisiana's Ten Commandments law faces an inevitable legal challenge, and a senator moves to repeal the strict 19th century anti-obscenity and anti-abortion Comstock Act.

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A Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival while rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town and prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands.

EPA 'Soot Rule' Faces Pressure from AZ Clean-Air Advocates

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Friday, February 24, 2023   

Arizona advocacy groups said a new federal standard proposed for soot pollution is a step in the right direction, but are urging the Environmental Protection Agency to make it tougher.

The EPA is taking public comments on a proposal to lower limits for fine particulate matter from 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air to between nine and 10.

Hazel Chandler, Arizona field organizer for the group Moms Clean Air Force, said eight micrograms would be better. The Arizona mom, grandma and great-grandmother lives with multiple health complications including, asthma and cancer. She argued air pollutants like soot are threatening to cut her life short.

"When I get an episode of several days with bad air, it triggers an event that sometimes lasts for months," Chandler explained. "I get chronic coughs that just won't stop. No amount of medication or treatment even touches it."

Chandler noted every time pollution levels go up, she experiences a spike in symptoms. She added she does not need an air quality alert to tell her when levels are bad; she feels it.

According to the American Lung Association, Phoenix and Mesa rank among the top 10 worst U.S. cities for year-round particle pollution.

Patrick Drupp, director of climate policy for the Sierra Club, pointed out no level of particle pollution is safe, which is why they are pushing for stricter limits on soot. Drupp said the EPA could save thousands more lives per year if the agency were to adopt a more stringent standard.

"The environmental justice community has been calling for those standards to be strengthened to no higher than eight for the annual standard and no higher than 25 for the 24-hour standard," Drupp outlined. "The Scientific Advisory Committee for EPA recommended those values as well."

Drupp emphasized the health burdens from soot disproportionately affect people who live near industrial facilities, coal-fired power plants and near high-traffic roads and highways. He argued the science calls for stricter protections, and hopes the EPA will listen. The agency's public comment period ends March 28.


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