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E&C Democratic Leaders Demand Information on Dangerous EPA Clean Air Rollbacks

Jan 28, 2019
Press Release
“These actions are particularly alarming in light of the recent warnings underscoring the impacts of climate change on air quality and the health of the American people”

Washington, D.C. – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee Chairman Paul Tonko (D-NY) sent a letter today to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler requesting information regarding EPA’s efforts to rollback critically important environmental and public health protections.

Pallone, DeGette and Tonko are particularly concerned about actions EPA has taken, or is contemplating taking, in five major areas: weakening mercury and air toxics standards and undermining other critical protections against toxic air pollution, undercutting human health protections against harmful exhaust from certain freight trucks, eroding scientific integrity in reviewing and setting national air quality standards, and weakening and discrediting the role of science in Agency proceedings.

“These actions are particularly alarming in light of the recent warnings underscoring the impacts of climate change on air quality and the health of the American people,” the Committee leaders wrote to Acting Administrator Wheeler.  “Congress and the public require a more detailed explanation of EPA’s actions to assess the consequences of these policy changes.  We request information to enable the Committee to evaluate the potential effects of these actions on public health and the environment.”

The letter comes as regulated industries are opposing EPA’s proposed rollbacks of mercury and air toxics standards and the Trump Administration continues to ignore the existential crisis of climate change.  The recently released Fourth National Climate Assessment warned that more than 100 million people in the United States live in communities where air pollution exceeds acceptable air quality standards.  The report said that unless stronger air quality standards are implemented, climate change will worsen air pollution levels resulting in increased adverse health effects and premature death, particularly among older adults, pregnant women and children. 

The Committee leaders also expressed concern that climate change impacts on air quality increasingly threaten the health of Americans, particularly low-income communities and communities of color.  A recent Harvard University study found that 80,000 more Americans will die per decade if the Administration completes its planned rollbacks of clean air and water protections. 

The Committee leaders requested EPA answer all questions and provide all documents and information no later than February 11, 2019.

The letter is available HERE.

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