HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The Pa. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has filed a court challenge to new federal air pollution standards on chemical solvents because they exempt some industries.
Gov. Ed Rendell said Thursday that his administration objects to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule, finalized in recent weeks, that does not impose tougher pollution standards on two Montgomery County plants that manufacture metal tubing.
The DEP filed the challenge May 3 in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia after the new EPA rule was published the same day. The rule was written to update 13-year-old air pollution standards and toughen them for some facilities that use the chemicals, the EPA said.
However, the rule does not impose tougher standards on three industries: aerospace, narrow tubing and facilities that use continuous web cleaning machines.
''Exempting these industries from more stringent emission standards fails to protect the well-being of our people, our communities and our economy,'' Rendell said in a statement.
In its explanation of the rule, the EPA said the cleaning machines that the facilities would have to install are not available, and that the pollution risks are acceptable.
Superior Tube Co. and Accellent Inc. emitted the sixth- and eighth-highest amounts of the metal cleaner and degreaser trichloroethylene in the nation in 2005, the latest year for which data are available.
Trichloroethylene is a suspected carcinogen. Both companies have agreed voluntarily to reduce their emissions, Rendell said.
The DEP said in January that TCE levels were detected near Collegeville five to 10 times higher than the average at other air monitors in the state. The agency said that could raise the cancer risk in the area by as much as 1.6 cases per 10,000 people.
John Millett, an EPA spokesman, said the agency will review the matter, but would not say how or when the agency will respond.