[JURIST] The US Environmental Protection Agency [official website] on Friday finalized a regulation [text and materials] intended to slash toxic emissions from automobiles and related sources through the year 2030. EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson said [press release] the new standards will be phased in for fuel containers in 2009, for cars in 2010 and for gasoline in 2011. The EPA estimates that cutting emissions of benzene and other toxins will cost about $400 million a year by 2030 while saving about $6 billion in annual health care spending. Benzene [US CDC backgrounder] is a leading cause of cancer in some parts of the United States.
Public interest law firm EarthJustice [official website] praised the new regional limits on benzene emissions, but criticized a provision of the rule [press release] that allows gasoline refineries to avoid the limits by "trading" pollution credits with refineries elsewhere in the country. Because of a lawsuit brought by EarthJustice [press release] on behalf of the Sierra Club [advocacy website], the EPA entered into a consent decree [PDF text] requiring the rule to be finalized by Friday. AP has more.
This report was prepared in partnership with the Pittsburgh Journal of Environmental and Public Health Law.