WASHINGTON -- The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce it has finalized its new soot rule on Monday. The regulation keeps the standards at 2012 levels, even though the agency’s own scientists have called for the need to strengthen the rule to protect American lives. Under this rule, particulate matter 2.5 (PM 2.5) -- which is harmful to human health -- will continue to be emitted into the air at dangerous levels. In contrast, a stronger standard would protect the health of countless Americans, according to peer-reviewed studies. An EPA analysis shows that 50,000 or more lives will be prematurely lost under the current standards.
Andrea McGimsey, senior director for Environment America’s Global Warming Solutions campaign, issued the following statement:
“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are more keenly aware than ever of our need to take care of our health. This is especially true when it comes to our lungs, which are so susceptible to the double danger of the coronavirus and pollution. Nevertheless, the EPA, which is in charge of protecting our environment and human health, has taken the unconscionable step of ignoring its own scientists and finalizing a rule that allows polluters to keep sullying our air at unacceptable levels.
“Environment America has testified in support of stronger air quality standards, and we were prepared to speak with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of Management and Budget next week to push for stronger standards on behalf of our members and all Americans. But the administration rammed through the completion of this rule before we even had a chance to meet. Rushing to protect polluters and harm our families’ health is a terrible legacy for this administration -- and, tragically, many thousands of Americans will pay the price with their lives.”