Press Release

NRDC: EPA Rollback Boosts Toxic Air Pollution and Health Risks Including Cancer

Jake Thompson, 301-602-3627

Elizabeth Heyd, 202-813-8315 

WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency is finalizing an environmental rollback that ends enforcement of a longstanding “once in, always in” toxic air pollution policy, which required industrial facilities to implement major pollution control measures as long as the plant is in operation.  

The following is a statement by John Walke, clean air director in the Climate & Clean Energy program at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council):

“EPA’s ill-conceived move lets polluters of the most toxic air pollution regulated by the Clean Air Act increase that pollution by two, five or even 10 times what they were spewing into the air before this rollback. That will expose people to more mercury, lead, arsenic, asbestos and benzene pollution—and harmful health impacts including cancer, neurotoxic effects, fetal damage and premature death.

“That’s dangerous and immoral, especially amid a respiratory pandemic hitting hardest on people exposed to high levels of air pollution. We intend to fight this with every tool available.”


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​

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