Carper Alarmed by Breach of Process on EPA’s Abrupt Reversal of Clean Air Protections

EPA abruptly reverses a rule addressing hazardous air pollution following a single request from the EPW Committee Chairman

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) abrupt decision to reverse the long-standing policy requiring the nation’s major sources of hazardous air pollution to maintain maximum achievable control technology (MACT) throughout the lifetime of their operation, known as “once-in-always-in.” EPA’s decision to reduce protections from hazardous air pollution comes just three weeks after EPW Chairman Barrasso sent a letter to EPA Administrator Pruitt requesting the 23-year-old policy be ended.

“Throughout the confirmation processes for both Administrator Pruitt and Assistant Administrator Bill Wehrum, I raised concerns that both posed serious risks to EPA’s core mission to protect American families from hazardous air pollutants. Yesterday, they proved my concerns were well founded.

“Despite his constant insistence that ‘process matters,’ Administrator Pruitt upended a 23-year-old air pollution interpretation of the law that was effectively protecting Americans from some of the most harmful toxic air pollutants like mercury, lead and arsenic after a single letter of support from our Chairman. To call this a ‘restoration of process’ would be laughable except for the fact that the EPA moving backward on clean air protections for some of our nation’s largest polluters is no laughing matter. While citing no analysis of the public health impacts of this decision, Administrator Pruitt’s EPA has proactively allowed polluters to increase output of toxic air pollution. Americans didn’t vote for more toxics in the air they breathe and the water they drink, but, unfortunately, that is what they are getting with President Trump’s EPA.”