WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) overdue release of a majority of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) nonattainment areas for ozone. These critical determinations providing the public information about potentially dangerous ozone pollution in their communities were supposed to be released in October 2017:
“For over a year now, Administrator Pruitt has worked hard to ignore his legal obligation to implement the critical ozone pollution standards required of his agency under the Clean Air Act. Only in the face of multiple lawsuits from states and public health and environmental organizations did Administrator Pruitt feel compelled to follow the law. While Mr. Pruitt delayed, the 51 areas ultimately designated not in attainment were left in the dark as their citizens breathed unhealthy air.
“Today, after over six months of delay and under court order, EPA finally announced – for the most part - which of our nation’s communities have unhealthy levels of ozone pollution. Sadly, the people of San Antonio must continue to wait for a final determination on the quality of their air from EPA. Worse still, rather than use the best available scientific and public health data to protect American citizens, it appears that EPA let politics dictate some of its nonattainment designations.
“States across the country, especially downwind states like Delaware that pay the price for others’ pollution, need a reliable partner in EPA that cares as much about our communities’ health as we do. Unfortunately, beyond ignoring his basic duties as EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt has manipulated his position into that of a public health antagonist, actively worsening the pollution problems the rest of us have worked for decades to address. For the sake of our communities, I hope Mr. Pruitt starts to understand the life-saving role that states rely on EPA to play in order to protect our families from hazardous ozone and other air pollutants.”