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EPA: New Competition to Increase Air Quality

by Elizabeth Alford on September 7, 2016

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created a competition designed to encourage greater air quality control.

Related: EPA Approves Tougher Methane Emissions Regulations

Ann Dunkin, Chief Information Officer of the EPA, sent out a memo last week announcing the agency will offer up to two communities $40,000 each to implement a plan to deploy hundreds of air sensors and find ways to manage the data they gather. If successful, the communities might be eligible to receive an additional $10,000.

The ‘Smart City Air Challenge‘  is designed to inspire communities to discover new approaches to managing data for air topics they care about, then develop solutions and share them.

Dunkin wrote, “I came to the EPA with a firm belief that data can make a difference in environmental protection. Since I’ve been here I’ve found that communities are leading the way by using data to understand local conditions and operate efficiently. That’s why I’m excited to announce EPA’s Smart City Air Challenge.”

The EPA is hoping that they will be able to learn how communities collect, store and manage large amounts of data. They also anticipate gaining a better understanding of the quality of data communities collect using sensors for non-regulatory purposes.

The EPA is accepting applications through October, 2016 and will announce winners in December.

In May, the EPA approved new, tougher standards designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions 40 – 45 percent by 2025. Industry leaders are critical of the ruling say they it is unnecessary and too costly. North Dakota’s attorney general filed a lawsuit against the agency in July citing concerns that the new rules are “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and not in accordance with law.”

Oil and gas producers are critically fatigued from months of low crude prices and this new regulation will certainly not be sustainable for some. The EPA estimates that the ruling might cost the industry somewhere between $420 – $530 million.


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