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Group calls on Biden administration for stronger pollution safeguards

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Posted at 4:53 PM, Apr 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-26 20:20:27-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN9) — Longer droughts and dry conditions mean more severe fire seasons and more smoke in the air.

“Remember, just a few years ago there was a fire in the Catalinas that affected Tucson,” said Pediatrician and Environmental Activist Dr. Eve Shapiro. “This is going to be more and more of a threat.”

Shapiro says pollution contributes to climate change, and she says both pollution and wildfire smoke are hazardous to your health.

“In adults that strain on the lungs increases risks of chronic lung disease and heart disease,” she said. “Also, many of the pollutants are carcinogenic. So, they can increase rates of cancer.”

Shapiro joined another doctor and two Arizona politicians in a press conference calling on the Biden administration to reduce air pollution.

“Clean energy infrastructure, as well as transitions to 50% renewable by 2030. That is the goal,” said State Representative Morgan Abraham. “That is something he promised on the campaign trail, and we want to make sure he does that.”

Candidate for congress Kirsten Engel also raised concerns about the Apache Generating Station just 76 miles from Tucson.

"It is extremely concerning this plant has had violations of the Clean Air Act,” she said.

She says stronger standards can reduce the risk from mercury and other toxic chemicals.

“The mercury is released when coal is burned by these power plants,” said Engel. “It gets in the air, into the food system, it gets into fish.”

Dr. Shapiro says there is no time to waste when it comes to curbing the effects of pollution and climate change.

“This is only getting worse if we do not act now.”

In response to former Senator Engel and Rep. Abraham' statements, which reported that AEPCO’s Apache Generating Station has had 41 Clean Air Act violations over the past five years, Arizona Electric Power Cooperative says:

This statement is false and appears to reflect a misreading of a report [echo.epa.gov] on EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance History Online report (ECHO).

ECHO is available to the public and publishes information on both state and federal enforcement and compliance activities for several environmental programs with respect to specific facilities regulated under those programs.

The ECHO report does not include any violation relating to Apache Station for the last five years.

The co-op is placing emphasis on the fact that the 41 alleged violations were actually "Compliance Monitoring Activities."

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Brian Brennan is a Meteorologist and reporter for KGUN 9. Brian’s fascination with weather began as a kid in Arizona watching the intense thunderstorms during monsoon. Seeing ice fall from the sky (in the form of hail) onto the hot desert got him hooked. Brian also has a passion for telling people’s stories and reporting. He has covered major breaking news, court trials, Nellis Air Force Base, and has put himself at the center of many weather events. Share your story ideas and important issues with Brian by emailing brian.brennan@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.