Tag Archive | "Environment News Service"

Legal Action Filed Against EPA for Failure to Update Acid Rain Standards

Legal Action Filed Against EPA for Failure to Update Acid Rain Standards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is being challenged by legal action for failing to update their acid rain quality standards for the safety of our country’s sensitive ecosystems and natural resources. The standards were created in 1971 and have never been updated. Even though the EPA has identified that this is a problem and came up with an action plan they have yet to put the plan into place to fix the problem.

The Clean Air Council, Center for Biological Diversity and National Parks Conservation Association filed the legal action with the help of the non-profit law firm Earthjustice. Mark Wenzler, vice president for clean air and climate programs at the National Parks Conservation Association. “The EPA’s failure to protect national parks from acid rain risks leaving wildlife and ecosystems permanently impaired.”

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The EPA was sued in 2005 for failing to even review the standards. This is what originally led to their studies in realizing the secondary standards were outdated. However, even with this knowledge provided by the EPA’s own scientists nothing was done. This recent legal action appears to be an attempt to get the EPA moving on revising the acid rain standards.

“EPA’s scientists identified the problem and provided a formula for action, but EPA dropped the ball,” said Charles McPhedran, attorney with Earthjustice, which is representing the three groups. “EPA’s inaction hurts our streams, and will not stand.”

From the Environment News Service:

The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to set so-called “secondary” air quality standards limiting ambient concentrations of air pollutants that affect “public welfare,” which includes ecosystems and natural resources.

The Center for Biological Diversity and other groups sued the agency in 2005 over its failure to review the secondary standard for sulfur and nitrogen compounds that react with the water molecules in the atmosphere to produce acid rain. The standard was first established in 1971 and has not been updated.

The groups argue that the EPA “chose to leave these inadequate standards in place,” and that the agency has rejected efforts by EPA scientific experts to write a new, more protective standard.

“Instead of following the law and doing what is necessary to protect our natural resources, EPA has chosen to sit on the sidelines. Meanwhile, acid rain continues to poison our waters and threaten our forests,” said Joe Minott of the Clean Air Council, based in Philadelphia.

Without acid rain standards being revised to meet the current environmental issues it will be difficult to keep the national forests from being further destroyed by acid rain. Hopefully this legal action motivates the EPA to revise the standards sooner than later.

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Volkswagon Hover Concept Car

Volkswagen’s Hover Car Concept Uses Electromagnetic Levitation

Last year Volkswagen launched the People’s Car Project to get the public’s ideas on the vehicles they are looking for. Over 119,000 ideas were submitted to the project from 33 million visitors in about 11 months. From the diverse ideas Volkswagen chose to develop three as concept vehicles, including the “Hover Car”, the “Music Car” and the “Smart Key”.

The “Hover Car” was suggested by Wang Jia from Chengdu, Sichuan, China. Using electromagnetic levitation the “Hover Car” is a zero-emissions vehicle that seats two. Hovering just above the ground it is capable of moving left or right, forward or backward.

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From the Environment News Service:

“The creative ideas from the People’s Car Project give us a valuable insight into the wishes of Chinese drivers,” said Simon Loasby, head of design at Volkswagen Group China.

“The trend is towards safe cars that can easily navigate overcrowded roads and have a personal, emotional and exciting design,” he said. The music car expresses the wish of many Chinese for individual automotive design. Equipped with organic light emitting diodes, the exterior color of the vehicle changes with the driver’s choice of music. The car becomes a means of self-expression and a fashion statement for young drivers.

Due to high demand and “the exceptionally good quality of the contributions,” Volkswagen says the People’s Car Project, which was originally scheduled to run for one year, has been extended indefinitely.

The smaller footprint the “Hover Car” provides will be a wonderful addition to busy cities around the World, if Volkswagen chooses to mass produce this vehicle. Even though it looks like it belongs in the future, the technology is available today and the People’s Car Project shows that people are looking for environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional cars and transportation. The use of electromagnetic levitation is sure to impress if you were seen driving this “futuristic” vehicle around town.

Image: Wang Jia’s parents try out the Volkswagen Hover Car concept (image from video)

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