Press Releases

Adirondack Council Applauds Update to NYS Clean-Air Regs

For more information:

John F. Sheehan
518-432-1770 ext. 203 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, July 18, 2017

ALBANY, N.Y. – The Adirondack Park’s largest environmental organization today applauded a state plan to tighten the rules on how much soot power plants can release into the air as part of the state’s plans to comply with National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

“Tightening the standards for fine particles of soot released from smokestacks will help to protect all New Yorkers from lung diseases, while also protecting the Adirondacks from acid rain and haze,” said Adirondack Council Director of Communications John Sheehan.  “We applaud state officials for proposing tighter standards.”

The NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation will hold stakeholder sessions to discuss the proposed rules on July 26 to July 28 in Albany, Long Island City and Avon.

Soot is formed by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, especially coal and diesel fuel.  Particles of carbon, often mixed with sulfur from the same smokestacks, get lodged in lungs where they can cause burns and lead to cancer, according to state and federal regulators.  Soot also blocks sunlight, resulting in haze and poor visibility that can harm tourism in scenic areas.

Particles that are not inhaled by people and wildlife often mix with water (in the air or on the ground), creating sulfuring acid.  This acidifies forest soils, lakes and rivers.  Over time, the acidity kills trees and fish and releases toxic mercury from otherwise harmless sources, poisoning fish, wildlife and people.

Soot can travel far from the smokestack and affect people and ecosystems hundreds of miles downwind.  In fact, most of New York’s non-diesel airborne soot is created by coal-fired power plants in the Midwest.  However, any significant source of soot pollution inside of New York should be controlled using modern control methods, Sheehan explained. 

New York was among the first states in the nation to implement strict emissions controls for power plants, starting in the 1970s.  Federal standards have now surpassed the rules New York first put in place, requiring the state to tighten emissions controls.  The state’s update will reflect changes in the federal standards.

Under the federal Clean Air Act’s standards, each state is required to show how it plans to control certain key air pollutants and each must file a State Implementation Plan with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Adirondack Council is a privately funded not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park.  The Council envisions a Park with clean water and clean air, comprised of core wilderness areas, surrounded by farms and working forests, as well as vibrant communities.

The Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy and legal action.  Adirondack Council members live in all 50 United States.


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