Carper Alarmed at EPA’s Decision to Deny Further Action on Cross-State Air Pollution

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that upwind states do not need to do more to address cross-state air pollution under the 2008 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard.

“Once again, Administrator Pruitt turns his back on downwind states like Delaware by denying them the ability to reduce air pollution from power plants in upwind states. Families in downwind states depend on the EPA to protect the air they breathe by holding polluters in upwind states accountable for their messes. Instead of prioritizing public health, this Administrator seems solely worried about the costs and burdens to upwind polluters. 

“In 2016, the EPA said that likely more must be done to reduce the emissions in downwind states coming from upwind states. Now, the EPA under Administrator Pruitt, is saying the opposite. We now know that EPA was right two years ago:  Downwind states like Delaware, New York, Connecticut and Maryland have all found that more action from upwind neighbors is needed.  Delaware is working hard to protect its communities from this pollution, but emissions blown over from other states account for nearly 90 percent of air pollution in the First State. The pollution presents unique dangers to Delawareans living with asthma, costs citizens a great deal in medical bills,  and reduces quality of life for many. 

“The partnership between states and EPA is critical for downwind states like Delaware that depend on EPA to ensure every state is a good neighbor when it comes to reducing air pollution. Once again, Mr. Pruitt proves that his talk of ‘cooperative federalism’ means absolutely nothing.

“Today’s decision is contrary to the very mission of the EPA, which is to protect human health and the environment. I call on Administrator again to follow the law by requiring upwind neighbors to do their part when it comes to ozone pollution and help downwind families, like the ones living in Delaware, breathe cleaner air.”

Earlier this month, EPA proposed to deny four petitions from the State of Delaware under Section 126(b) of the Clean Air Act seeking to reduce ozone pollution in Delaware emitted from power plants in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. On June 22, Senator Carper submitted comments at EPA’s public hearing in Washington, D.C. on these proposed rejections. This week, on June 27 Senator Carper led a letter from the Delaware congressional delegation to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt urging him to reconsider this proposal.