Release: Over 30,000 Pennsylvanians Participate in EPA’s 60-day Public Input Process to Reduce Soot Pollution 

Media Contacts
Zach Barber

Clean Air Advocate, PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Ellie Kerns

Climate Field Organizer, PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Jenne Turner | TPIN

PHILADELPHIAPublic comments from more than 30,000 Pennsylvanians were submitted today to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the official 60-day input process closed on the agency’s proposal to reduce soot pollution in the U.S. In a press conference in Philadelphia today, Monday March 27th, environmental group leaders and local elected officials celebrated the end of the comment period and delivered many of these comments to EPA at the agency’s Center City office.

Numerous studies have shown that soot pollution leads to increased asthma attacks, emergency room visits, cancer, and even death. EPA’s proposal would reduce allowable levels of soot, officially known as PM2.5, pollution in our air by about 20%. Yet, public health data shows that the EPA can and should go even further lower the current standard by 33%. 

“People of color continually face worse outcomes from exposure to air pollution and will see the largest positive impacts from the implementation of these new standards. I am also asking that in addition to EPA’s strengthening of America’s annual standard for soot pollution, that it also strengthens our 24-hour standards. Both of these standards are necessary for properly measuring soot pollution’s impact on public health,” said Congressman Dwight Evans (D-PA-3).

“Pennsylvanians from all walks of life and all corners of the Keystone State are sending a message loud and clear to our federal environmental officials – that clean air is a right and not a privilege,” noted Zach Barber, Clean Air Advocate with PennEnvironment. “By implementing the strongest possible protections, the EPA could save four times as many lives – nearly 20,000 lives each year nationally. Anything less would mean a missed opportunity to secure cleaner air for millions of Americans.”

“EPA must not miss this opportunity to save tens of thousands of more lives by finalizing an annual PM2.5 standard that aligns with what EPA’s research says will be most protective of public health,” said Russell Zerbo, an advocate with Clean Air Council. “There is a linear association between PM2.5 pollution in both the long and short terms and mortality. This means that for every reduction in PM2.5, individuals live longer and unnecessary deaths are avoided.”