EPA particulate matter decision puts science, health aside to protect polluters
Meteor Staff from press releases
April 14, 2020
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it would not strengthen standards for particulate matter pollution (known as PM), against the recommendations of an independent panel of experts and EPA’s own scientists.
The agency has made this announcement in the midst of a national public health crisis. This decision is the result of a skewed process that abandons science, public health and the EPA’s mission, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
Dr. Gretchen Goldman, research director for the Center for Science and Democracy at UCS said:
The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to set standards for pollutants like particulate matter based on the best available science, with the goal of protecting public health. Today’s decision is a willful abandonment of that obligation, at a real cost to human life.
Goldman said, “It’s especially egregious that EPA is making this announcement in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic—a public health crisis that evidence increasingly suggests is dangerous to people living in areas with higher air pollution levels.”
EPA Administrator Wheeler’s career was built lobbying on behalf of coal producers. He sees his job at the EPA as a continuation of that work. Nearly every decision he’s made has been aimed at making it easier and cheaper to pollute, in defiance of science, the public interest, and the EPA’s public health mission he’s supposed to carry out. In the face of our current crisis, this indifference to our health is inexcusable.”
PM pollution, especially fine particulate matter or PM2.5, is one of the most common and dangerous forms of pollution, linked to adverse effects on respiratory and cardiovascular health.
EPA Decision on Air Quality Standards ‘Defies Logic’
The action comes as evidence emerges linking pollution, COVID-19 risk
Morgan Folger, Clean Cars Campaign director for Environment America, issued the following statement: