Carper Critizes New EPA Rule on Particulate Matter

Instead of “Status Quo” Standard, EPA Should Issue Stronger Rule

WASHINGTON (Dec. 21, 2005) – Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., ranking member of the Senate clean air subcommittee, today criticized the EPA’s newly proposed standard for particulate matter (PM), or soot, saying the agency chose to maintain the “status quo” rather than acting to further improve air quality. The EPA’s proposed rule, which will not be finalized until fall 2006, would alter the current particulate matter standards established in 1997. The new rule would keep the current annual standard for particulate matter the same but would make modest reductions to the daily standard. EPA’s scientific advisors concluded that both standards be revised more stringently. The following is a statement from Sen. Carper on the proposed rule change: “For the past ten years, the agency has reviewed more than 2,000 scientific studies about the health effects of particulate matter, which has been linked to premature death and cardiovascular illness. Science shows us that our current PM standards, set almost a decade ago, do not adequately protect the public health and that there is an urgent need to strengthen both the daily and annual standards. Instead of acting to significantly improve our air quality, the EPA essentially chose to maintain the status quo. Keeping the annual PM standard the same, while making only modest changes to the daily PM standard, will not do enough to improve the air quality of various East Coast cities and states, including Delaware. Science shows that we must do a better job of protecting public health. I would urge the EPA to reconsider its new rule and implement a stronger standard next year.”