Six Western states are among those accused of shortchanging public health by ignoring certain hazardous chemical emissions from power plants. A new report from the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Integrity Project reveals that the majority of state regulatory agencies overlook power plant "upset" emissions that exceed federal pollution limits.
Gaming the System: How the Off-the-Books Industrial Upset
Emissions Cheat the Public Out of Clean Air explains that
upsets — unpredictable discharges that occur during periods
of malfunction, startup, shutdown or maintenance of machinery
— sometimes exceed plants’ total annual reported
But most states will not regularly include
upset emissions in pollution inventories, and do not consider them
violations of air pollution regulations, the report says. Among the
29 states with legal loopholes that excuse such emissions from
regulation — and grant companies exemptions from upset
penalties — are California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico,
Utah and Wyoming.
The report, along with other
information regarding upsets at refineries nationwide, can be found