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Invisible Air: Regulating Iowa's Air Quality

keeva999 / flickr
An ethanol plant near Marcus, Iowa

The EPA sets regulations for 6 sources of air pollution, but there are hundreds of pollutants known to the EPA that go unregulated.

Today we continue our environmental series – Ripple Effects – by looking into Iowa’s air quality. What’s in our air, what are the sources of Iowa’s air pollution, and what can we do to clean it up?

For the most part, Iowa's air quality is adequate, but there are pockets in the state that could use some work. This hour, we look to areas like Muscatine, where residents complain about pollution from manufacturing plants.

“We have to stay inside the house and keep the windows and doors shut in order to breathe, otherwise we’re sick,” says Muscatine resident, Sherry Leonard.

New regulations on Iowa's coal plants:

Credit Adam Burke
Southend, a Muscatine neighborhood that borders the Grain Processing Corporation and Muscatine Power and Water coal plants

A few weeks ago on River to River, we covered new EPA standards that plan to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent overall. Iowa power plants would be required to cut carbon emissions 16 percent by 2030 – a less stringent requirement due to Iowa’s dedication to wind energy. For more information on how these standards could affect the environment and the economy, take a listen to the podcast.