The Environmental Protection Agency is charged with protecting our natural environment as well as the health of those who enjoy its resources. By enacting legislation that regulates the use of chemicals the EPA is able to protect our natural resources as well as the health and safety of our citizens. And in that spirit, the EPA reported late last month that the agency had settled claims with Kemira Chemicals and Kemira Water Solutions, two subsidiaries of a global chemicals company whose North American headquarters are based in Atlanta.
Maintaining good air quality in urban areas is not easy. Emissions from motor vehicles, factories, and power plants react to sunlight creating a chemical fog near the surface, a ground level ozone most commonly referred to as smog. In order to help limit smog, the Environmental Protection Agency issues limits on how much pollution is permissible in a given area. And after some hard work, Atlanta recently met the EPA standards. The only problem is the EPA set those standards in 1997, and the standards set in 2008, as well as increased standards proposed for the future. While the meeting of air quality standards, even outdated ones, is a sign of progress, many metropolitan areas still have a hard time progressing enough to really catch up to guidelines currently in place. Atlanta is doing better than some cities, however, who are still struggling even to meet 1987 standards. For businesses, it is an uphill battle as they strive to clear one hurdle only to be faced with a new challenge.
Many businesses use manufacturing processes that potentially expose the environment to pollutants. To some extent, this is simply the consequence of living in the modern world. Still, the health and safety of the community are important, which is why the Clean Air Act states that there are limits to how much and what types of chemicals can go into the environment. Often it is violations of this act, and enforcement by the EPA, that will prompt businesses to develop more careful policies to prevent chemical exposure. This is what happened with a glass manufacturer that has operating locations in several states, including Georgia. The EPA issued two citations to the company after they made changes to their furnaces which caused an increase in NOX emissions. They were also charged with not obtaining the required pre-construction permits required by state and federal authorities. Potential consequences of these pollutants include smog, acid rain and respiratory illness.
An environmental lawsuit was recently filed against the very entity that is supposed to protect the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency was targeted for not requiring stricter guidelines for the quality of beach water throughout the country.