Bill Sponsor Appears To Lack Understanding Of Fine Particulate Pollution Problems In Metro Louisville Posted: February 9, 2006
February 9, 2006
Senator Tom Jensen, Chair
Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee
State Capitol Annex
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
Re: Particulates and Senate Bill 39
I am writing to “clear the air” concerning the impact of SB 39 on Louisville’s effort to attain the new fine particulate standard. Louisville has been designated by EPA as “nonattainment” for the health-based fine particulate standard, and will have to develop a plan for reductions of fine particulates in order to reduce ambient concentrations of the particulates in our air to healthy levels. SB 39 could interfere with that effort, since it prevents adoption of local measures that exceed state or federal minimum standards. Bruce Traughber mentioned this interference in his statement, to which Senator Seum in rebuttal commented dismissively that particulates are just “construction dust.”
With all due respect, the Senator is mistaken. I am attaching a brochure from EPA describing the health concerns regarding fine particulates, which are entirely different than the coarse particles referred to by the Senator. Fine particulates are a mixture of microscopic solids and liquid droplets suspended in air and made up of a number of components including acids, organic chemicals, metals, soil or dust particles and allergens. These small particles, whose diameters can be hundreds of times less than the thickness of a human hair, cause the greatest health threat since they can get deep into lungs and cause a range of heart and lung problems and premature death. Public health impacts from fine particulates, and the ability of Louisville to adopt regulations to reduce those impacts, is nothing to scoff at.
Thank you for the time and attention you gave to the issue of local regulation of air pollution during today’s hearing.