WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), released the following statement after the EPA announced its denial of four Clean Air Act 126(b) petitions filed by the state of Delaware to reduce harmful emissions from power plants in upwind states.
“Today’s decision is an abject failure by the Trump Administration to do its job. It fails to protect Delaware families from the harmful pollution emitted from power plants in upwind states. These emissions create dangerous ground-level ozone pollution and dirty the air that children and families in the First State breathe. This decision does not ensure that all states are being good neighbors. It does not make sure that all states play by the same rules.
“Delaware is working hard to reduce harmful emissions that contribute to its ozone problem, but more than 90 percent of our air pollution comes from upwind states’ power plants. In other words, we can’t do it alone. In order for our constituents to be able to breathe the healthy air they deserve, EPA must enforce the ‘good neighbor’ rule and hold upwind states emitting these harmful emissions accountable for their actions. Delaware is not asking much of its neighbors. Upwind power plants simply need to run already-installed pollution control technology in order for Delawareans to breath cleaner air. But rather than asking these facilities to just turn on the technology they have already installed, EPA has decided to side with polluters over people.
“Perhaps the most troubling and misleading part of this decision is that EPA claims that Delaware will soon have clean air, while simultaneously gutting clean air protections. By EPA Administrator Wheeler’s own admission, the agency has no idea how other recent Trump Administration clean air rollback will affect the air quality in our state and, yet, they are denying these 126 petitions. Just this week, EPA admitted ozone pollution would likely increase as a result of proposed methane emission rollbacks, but refused to calculate the potential health risks for Delaware or anywhere else in the country.
“I try to live my life by the Golden Rule — to treat others the way I would want to be treated. EPA should heed that advice. People living in Delaware and other downwind states shouldn’t have to suffer just because other states aren’t doing their part and following the law. EPA must do better than this.”
In June, Senator Carper submitted a statement for the record during the public hearing on EPA’s proposed response to Clean Air Act Section 126(b) petitions from Delaware and Maryland. Later that month, Senator Carper led the Delaware delegation in urging EPA to reconsider its proposed decision to deny the four petitions. And Senator Carper gave testimony on July 16 at a public hearing on the EPA’s proposed decision.