The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is updating its federal pollution guidelines for the first time since the agency was created.
The update, released Wednesday, states that while EPA regulations are intended to protect public health and the environment, “they can and do pose risks to human health and welfare.”
The new guidelines will help states and local governments better prepare for the inevitable “disasters” that could arise if pollution levels rise.
“The EPA is committed to protecting the health and well-being of Americans,” the agency said in a statement, adding that it’s “working to address the needs of affected communities and communities in need.”
In a statement issued earlier this week, the EPA said the guidelines “have been a key part of our work to improve the environment and the economy, and to ensure that states and cities have access to the tools they need to protect the public health.”
The EPA’s revised guidelines include a more stringent timeline for complying with the Clean Air Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, as well as a requirement that states report pollution to EPA and federal agencies by August 1.
The EPA said in its announcement that the guidelines will make it easier for communities to develop pollution mitigation plans, as they do now, and that “these new guidance documents will provide states and counties with the tools and information they need for better planning for pollution control, and for responding to environmental emergencies.”