On Oct. 1, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revised its air quality standards to limit ground-level ozone to 70 parts per billion. Gina McCarthy, the administrator for the EPA, stood by her decision. But public health organizations insist that adverse health effects, such as asthma and premature death, are a risk above 60 parts per billion, according to E&E Publishing. Ozone, a gaseous air pollutant, can be harmful when inhaled.
A dispute between a mining company and its subsidiary has put $145 million in retired miners’ health benefits at risk. In October, Peabody Coal filed a lawsuit in a St. Louis bankruptcy court, where its subsidiary Patriot is filing for its second bankruptcy in three years, claiming that if its subsidiary Patriot is not responsible for paying retired miners’ benefits, the parent company should not have to be either. According to Law360, Patriot joined the United Mine Workers Association to file an objection to the lawsuit in federal bankruptcy court in Virginia.
In an unexpected admission, Charles Patton, president of the utility company Appalachian Power, told the West Virginia Energy Summit in October that the nation’s dependence on coal was waning, regardless of what happens with the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan. While many still argue this point, Patton said, “the debate largely, at this point in time, has been lost.”