EPA to Consider Strengthening Health Protections for Soot Pollution

WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency today announced it will reconsider a December 2020 Trump administration refusal to strengthen National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for soot, noting that the current standards may not protect public health and welfare, as required under the Clean Air Act.

The following is a statement from Vijay Limaye, a climate and health scientist with the Science Center at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council):
“The EPA’s welcome move could help millions of people breathe easier. The science clearly calls for more protective soot standards. These protections are critical for all of us, especially children, older people, communities of color, and low-income communities who are disproportionately burdened by higher levels of pollution in the air.”

In January, NRDC sued the EPA challenging the former Trump administration’s December 2020 refusal to strengthen the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter, or soot.

According to the American Lung Association, in the years 2017, 2018 and 2019, about 54.4 million people lived in the 88 counties that experienced unhealthy spikes in particulate matter air pollution. This represents a million more people than in last year’s “State of the Air”, and higher numbers than in any of the last five reports.

NRDC’s petition was filed in U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) 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 www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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