WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, released the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to maintain the national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for Ground Level Ozone despite the latest science showing a more protective standard may be needed.
EPA is required every five years under the Clean Air Act to review the best available science to determine if the NAAQS is still protective of public health. If the science shows a more protective NAAQS is needed, EPA is required to make changes to the NAAQS. During the review process for this proposal, the Trump EPA disbanded the scientific experts tasked with helping the agency review the latest ozone health studies.
“The American people depend on the EPA to implement ozone health standards that will protect our nation’s most vulnerable from suffocating smog pollution, including the millions of children that live with asthma. Protective ozone standards are especially important during an outbreak of a deadly respiratory pandemic like the one we’re experiencing now – one that we know is particularly dangerous for individuals with all types of lung diseases.
“Instead of trusting our nation’s leading scientists to help guide the EPA’s decision on what is best for public health, the Trump EPA has decided to do what it does best – put politics over public health. Let’s be clear, the Trump Administration’s refusal to follow sound science does not refute the scientific fact that ozone pollution is bad for you. For millions of Americans living with chronic lung and heart disease, it can be deadly. Amid an already deadly pandemic, this proposal would put the elderly and those living with diseases like asthma – some of the very same people at higher risk of adverse COVID-19 outcomes – at higher risk.
“While our country continues to work around the clock to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, EPA continues to ignore the deadly implications of its proposals. While lives are at stake, this EPA is pursuing actions that will lead to more polluted air and worse public health. This is part of EPA’s Pandemic of Pollution.”