Sen. Carper Renews Calls For Multipollutant Legislation To Meet New National Air Quality Standards

WASHINGTON – Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Clean Air and Nuclear Safety subcommittee, again called for Congress to pass multi-pollutant legislation after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed today a stricter ozone standard to better protect the health of all Americans. This decision comes on the heels of an earlier proposal to tighten the national sulfur dioxide standard.
“Today’s proposal demonstrates that millions of Americans and thousands of Delawareans remain unprotected from harmful air pollutants under current EPA standards,” Sen. Carper said. “It’s been 19 years since Congress strengthened the Clean Air Act and now is the time to readdress our national clean air laws to better protect public health.”
After reviewing more than 1,700 scientific studies, the EPA is proposing to implement a stronger public health national ambient air quality ozone standard than the one implemented by the Bush Administration in 2008. The new standard is in the range suggested by the EPA’spanel of science advisors, the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC). The EPA is also suggesting a new secondary ozone standard to protect the environment.
Ground-level ozone is formed by a chemical reaction between nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the presence of sunlight. Emissions from fossil-fuel power plants, motor vehicle exhaust, and industrial facilities are some of the major sources of NOx and VOCs. Exposure to ground-level ozone can cause respiratory illness, long-term lung tissue damage, and death.
Over the past decade, Sen. Carper has fought to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions, a pre-cursor to ground-level ozone pollution, along with other dangerous emissions – mercury, sulfur dioxide (SO2) and carbon dioxide (CO2), through various legislative efforts. Currently, he is working on a three-pollutant bill with Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) that addresses SO2, NOx, and mercury emissions from fossil-fuel power plants.