Dear EarthTalk: The recent explosion at a West, Texas fertilizer plant that killed many people really alarmed me. Places like this must exist near many communities around the country. How do I know if my own community might be at risk of a similar disaster? – Mary Cyr, Sarasota, FL
Dear EarthTalk: I was appalled by the pollution haze I saw on a recent visit to Acadia National Park in Maine, and was told by a ranger that it was from smokestacks and tailpipes hundreds of miles away. Is anything being done to clear the air in Acadia and other natural areas where people go to breathe fresh air and enjoy distant unobstructed views?-- Betty Estason, via e-mail
Dear EarthTalk: I read that car makers had agreed to up fuel economy standards to an average of about 55 miles per gallon by the year 2025, and that specifics were due to be hammered out by the end of 2011. Did this happen and where do things stand now?-- Scott Ellis, Norwalk, CA
New Hampshire’s U-S senators helped defeat a measure to unwind new regulations to clean up air in the Granite State.
The Environmental Protection Agency is trying to prevent unhealthy smog and soot from coal fired power plants in 27 states from spreading to other states. The EPA’s cross-border pollution rule would force those states to drastically cut their emissions.
But tea party backed Kentucky freshman Rand Paul forced the Senate to vote on unwinding those new rules to protect his coal rich home state.