Carper Applauds EPA Rule to Better Protect Americans from Ozone Pollution

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, issued the following statement commending the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement that it will implement stricter ozone air pollution health standards from 75 parts per billion to 70 parts per billion. Ozone air pollution poses a serious threat to public health and has been linked to asthma, heart disease and premature death. The Senator has been a long time champion of efforts to reduce dangerous emissions that contribute to ozone pollution.

“As medical science evolves, so too does our understanding of ‘healthy air.’ For decades, we have known that ozone pollution caused by dirty power plants, automobiles, and other sources is linked to serious health problems like asthma, strokes, heart attacks, and even early deaths. Parents who have watched their kids with asthma suffer on high ozone days know this better than anyone. As a parent, I worry about my own children’s health. And as a U.S. Senator, I worry about every child’s health. That’s why I applaud the president and the EPA for crafting a health standard that better protects our nation’s children.  

“Through unprecedented outreach, the EPA collected broad input and developed this rule based on the most up-to-date science.  Today, the EPA announced that our current ozone health standards are too weak and no longer adequately protect our health. Despite what many may say, today’s announcement is purely a statement of fact – to protect our health, we need less ozone pollution. Fortunately, the EPA has already implemented federal regulations to ensure every state does its fair share when it comes to air pollution. As a result of these federal regulations, very few states will need to do additional actions to meet this new health standard. In fact, less than fifteen counties outside of California are expected to be in nonattainment by 2025.

“Across the political spectrum, I know we can agree on many of the same things – we want cleaner air, a stronger economy, and to engage states and industry in a thoughtful way. Opponents to this rule will argue that we have to choose between having a cleaner, stronger environment and having a robust, growing economy. I believe this is a false choice. We can have both clean air and a strong energy sector in this country, and I applaud the EPA for moving us further into a clean energy future.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency EPA estimates that meeting the new 70 parts per billion standard in 2025 will yield annual health benefits of $2.9 to $5.9 billion for a standard and will cost an estimated $1.4 billion.