President Joe Biden's Environmental Protection Agency wants to impose new restrictions on polluters, formerly loosened by former President Donald Trump, The Hill reported Friday.
The regulations in question were first implemented during the administration of former President Bill Clinton in the 1990s ordering plants that emit high levels of "hazardous air pollutants," and considered to be "major polluters" to meet strict emission standards even if they drop below the major pollution threshold limit.
According to the report, Trump allowed the companies that reduced their emissions below the threshold to function under less restrictions.
The new Biden proposal would continue with the practice but impose new requirements to combat large amounts of pollution from being released.
"Ensuring facilities do not increase emissions of air toxins after being reclassified will help protect communities from air toxics," The Hill reported Joseph Goffman, the EPA's top air official, saying in a statement. "This proposal will continue to allow facilities to innovate and adopt new ways of reducing emissions of air toxics while maintaining emission reductions after reclassification."
The report said that the rule includes "hazardous air pollutants" like benzene, asbestos, and mercury that have been linked to cancer and other serious health conditions.
Clean air advocates said that the draft regulations being proposed do not go far enough, returning the Clinton-era protections, thereby leaving too much pollution allowed in emissions.
Earthjustice Director of Clean Air Practice James Pew told the news outlet the older version of the regulation kept protections from even small amounts of dangerous substances that could be harmful if the facility falls below the major polluter threshold and operates with less restrictions.
"It doesn't fix the worst problem of the Trump-era rule," Pew said in the report. "It leaves it in place."
The New York Times reported in January 2021 that Trump's administration had rolled back some 100 environmental regulations governing clean water, air, wildlife, and toxic chemicals as well as "dismantling" major climate policies.
"This is a very aggressive attempt to rewrite our laws and reinterpret the meaning of environmental protections," Hana V. Vizcarra, a senior attorney at Earthjustice who has tracked the policy changes since 2018, said in the report. "This administration is leaving a truly unprecedented legacy."
The Times story, published the day Biden took office, said the new administration planned to reverse "several" of Trump's regulation rollbacks.
Charles Kim, a Newsmax general assignment writer, is an award-winning journalist with more than 30 years in reporting on news and politics.
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