IDNR asks legislature to help reduce air pollution


Credit: Nick Humphries, Flickr

To combat high levels of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) in Iowa’s air, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is recommending, among other responses, a ban on open burning of residential waste in all municipalities, reports

The recommendations will likely meet major resistance from newly sworn in Governor Terry Branstad, who campaigned on promises of budget cuts and is averse to business regulation.

Exposure to PM 2.5  can increase the likelihood of contracting asthma, bronchitis, emphysema or other lung and heart disease, and it can worsen the symptoms of those who already have such conditions.

Key IDNR recommendations include:

  • Adopt legislation to prohibit open burning of residential waste within the limits of municipalities.
  • Improve the state PM 2.5 air monitoring network by adding two additional staff members and $450,000 in new equipment.
  • Adopt legislation to reduce the idling of motor vehicles.
  • Establish a PM 2.5 permitting program, beginning Jan. 1, 2012, to control direct emissions of PM 2.5 and prevent exceedances of National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
  • Expand educational and outreach efforts to agricultural interests to reduce ammonia emissions from livestock operations and nitrogen (fertilizer) application.
  • Conduct public education programs on the proper use of fireplaces, wood stoves and outdoor wood boilers to help reduce PM 2.5 emissions.

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