Carper Blasts EPA for Failing to Improve Soot Standards and Protect Lives

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper, top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) failure to set newer, more protective standards for particulate matter (PM) pollution. This soot-causing air pollution is linked to serious health problems, like asthma, strokes, heart attacks, and early deaths, and research has linked exposure to it to more adverse outcomes from COVID-19. 

“Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. In the last hours of the Trump Administration, EPA continues to work around the clock to cement its anti-science, pro-polluter agenda. The Trump EPA’s decision to ignore science and keep the current standards unchanged will cost tens of thousands of lives every year into the future, long after the Trump Administration is gone.

“When EPA announced plans to keep these rules unchanged in April, we were enduring the first wave of a deadly respiratory pandemic—one that today has claimed close to 300,000 lives in our country. What was true in April is still true today—the cost of protecting public health is far less than the cost of breathing polluted air. It has become abundantly clear that COVID-19 is deadlier for Black, brown, and Indigenous Americans, who are also more likely to live in areas with higher levels of particulate matter pollution. The Trump EPA is failing to do its job and protect communities of color from the harmful pollution that’s worsening COVID-19 outcomes. Amid the second wave of cases, EPA is still spearheading its own Pandemic of Pollution.”

In April 2020, Senator Carper condemned EPA, when it announced plans to not develop newer, more protective standards for PM. In June 2020, Senator Carper, along with Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jeffrey Merkley (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) sent a letter urging EPA to pursue stronger standards to protect Americans from PM.