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Many on Gulf Coast Say Time is Running Out for EPA to Act on Toxic Air

Summary

Residents along the Gulf Coast, particularly in areas like Lake Charles, Louisiana, express growing concerns about toxic air pollution from refineries and chemical plants. Despite the Biden administration's promise to address the issue, residents argue that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not taken sufficiently aggressive enforcement actions. The EPA, facing budget cuts and staff shortages, is struggling to meet its commitments. While some refineries have reduced benzene emissions, a chemical linked to leukemia, eight facilities, mainly near disadvantaged communities in Texas and Louisiana, continue to release excessive amounts. The EPA's enforcement efforts are criticized for delays and reliance on administrative resolutions, raising fears that further progress may stall, especially if the Trump administration returns to power in 2024. Environmentalists and residents emphasize the urgency of tackling pollution in communities disproportionately affected by industrial emissions.

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