Carper Alarmed by Changes to Weaken National Air Quality Standards

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement regarding President Trump’s Executive Order on the Clean Air Act and the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS):

“The environmental threats we face today are real and do not respect state boundaries. This is especially true of smog, soot and air toxic pollution, which is produced every day from the vehicles we drive and from industrial sources. Fortunately, the Clean Air Act was crafted with a strong focus on cooperative federalism, requiring EPA to forge partnerships with states to address air pollution, especially air pollution that crosses state borders. Much of our country’s ongoing effort to clean up air pollution hinges on this partnership between states and the EPA. It is even more 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. 

“One of the linchpins in this Clean Air Act state-federal government partnership is the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Congress was very prescriptive in how EPA was to set these standards for the most common, and the most dangerous, air pollutants – like ozone, particulate matter and lead. EPA sets the standards, and the states find the most cost-effective ways to clean-up. For over forty years now, the NAAQS program has successfully cleaned up our air and protected downwind states like Delaware, without inhibiting our nation’s economic growth.

“Today’s changes to the NAAQS program – made through Executive Order without any public comment or public health analysis – is alarming to say the very least. This shortsighted decision is even more concerning as Mr. Pruitt’s EPA is simultaneously denying downwind states’ efforts to hold upwind states accountable for their air pollution contributions, increasing the air pollution that crosses state borders and taking away critical financial tools and programs to help states address pollution. It is clear this administration has little regard for the plight of downwind states, like my home state of Delaware, and that Mr. Pruitt’s constant invocation of ‘cooperative federalism’ is entirely disingenuous.”