U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

EPA rejects IDNR effort to loosen water quality standards; change pushed by industry lobbyists

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has rejected an effort to loosen water quality protection rules in Iowa, saying proposed changes to "antidegradation standards" sought by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) violate federal rules.

In a letter to the IDNR January 19, the EPA's Region 7 Administrator Mark Hague wrote the state was "seeking to establish a one-size-fits-all rule that only projects costs less than 115 percent of base costs optimize 'the balance between water quality benefits and project costs.' "

EPA cracks down on motorcycle defeat device for muffler emissions; takes aim at aftermarket makers

Residents annoyed and awakened by loud motorcycles might hope the recent federal crackdown on Harley-Davidson for selling equipment to bypass air pollution control units would carry over to aftermarket muffler manufacturers whose products fail to meet either national air pollution or noise standards.

But, don't get too optimistic.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials say they're focused on enforcement of air pollution regulations, not motorcycle noise standards, while Bettendorf police wrote just two tickets for loud motorcycle mufflers over the four-year period 2010 through 2014.

Consequently, motorcyclists with illegal mufflers – two to four times as loud as the federal limit of 80 decibels – operate with impunity throughout the city, often late at night and early in the morning.

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