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  • With extension denied, EPA sends boiler rules to White House

    EPA is stuck between a rock and a hard place, said Michael Livermore, executive director of the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law. Even if the agency has qualms about the proposed rules, it can’t make any changes that weren’t subjected to public comment last year. Whether the agency’s final rule is similar to the proposed rule or makes substantial changes, it’s bound to face lawsuits, Livermore said.

  • Dangerous Delay

    A mini-firestorm erupted recently in response to the EPA’s attempt to stall on a regulation to clean up mercury pollution from industrial plants; environmentalists see the move as a political cave in the face of a newly empowered congressional opposition.

  • Curtailing Air Pollution

    There is a much stronger economic case for curtailing highly toxic air pollution from old and outdated industrial boilers than there is for allowing the emissions to continue.

  • Buildings Belching Black Smoke on Upper East Side

    Phasing out dirty oil over a 20 year period would generate $5.3 million worth of health benefits and avoid 600 mortalities, according to a study from the New York University School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity. The DEP received roughly 2,200 311 complaints about buildings’ chimney smoke in Fiscal Year 2009 and issued 500 violations. Boilers using the heavy No. 6 or No. 4 are more difficult to maintain than No. 2 oil or natural gas, causing problems with incomplete combustion, officials said.

  • How EPA’s regulatory surge missed a primary target

    Michael Livermore, a law professor at New York University and a leading proponent of cost-benefit analysis in environmental regulation, said estimating the value of mercury reductions would help inform the public about the new rules. But because EPA isn’t allowed to consider costs when it sets the toxic pollution standards, he said, “it doesn’t make sense for the agency to pull its hair out estimating the benefits of a rule that’s already cost-benefit justified” by the particulate matter reductions.

  • Heating Oil Bill Signed

    “Heart disease rates will go down, asthma cases will recede and it will literally become easier for New Yorkers to breathe,” said Jason Schwartz, legal fellow at the Institute for Policy Integrity.

  • Bloomberg Signs Clean Air Bill

    An updated analysis released in the spring found that up to 259 lives per year could be saved by using cleaner fuels in the boilers of the 9000 or so large buildings that currently burn dirty oil. The Institute for Policy Integrity report showed that a transition to less toxic fuel options would reduce the number of New Yorkers suffering fatal heart attacks, chronic bronchitis, and asthma—saving billions of dollars in health benefits.

  • EPA announces proposal to cut power-plant pollution

    The EPA announced a proposal today that will cut power-plant pollution in 31 states, replacing a Bush administration cap-and-trade system overturned by the courts. The announcement comes as the chatter on Capitol Hill has turned to a utility-only approach to cap-and-trade. The targets of EPA’s proposed rule are not greenhouse gases, but two unhealthy toxins released into air when coal is burned — sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). The substances are dangerous thanks in part to the tiny particles that can wreak havoc on our respiratory systems. The consequences: asthma, heart disease, and cancer.

  • Most Oil Heaters Will Get Cleaner, But Dirtiest Won’t

    Jason Schwartz, legal fellow at the Institute for Policy Integrity, a nonpartisan research organization at the New York University School of Law, published a report last month that found that up to 259 lives could be saved every year in New York City if it disallowed the use of residual oils for heating. He said that the current bill was a great accomplishment on the state level, but more action needs to be seen here in the city to clean the air. “This bill is doing a lot,” he said. “But it’s focused on number two heating oil, so we still need action at the city level to transition New York City customers from the dirtiest heating oil to cleaner types.”

  • NYC Moves to Cut Down on Toxic Emissions

    New York City has some of the dirtiest air in the country, but now there is a move to cut down on one especially potent source of pollution.