EPA issues latest blow to clean air protections in sweeping memo

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a memo outlining a series of changes that could radically rewrite the country’s clean air policy. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's plans, not surprisingly, reek of pro-industry favoritism. They include reviewing air-quality standards for ground-level ozone and particulate matter before the end of President Trump’s term, in addition to four other pollutants. Pruitt also wants to streamline reviews of scientific research (troubling, considering his latest “secret science” suggestions), as well as for the agency to begin considering economic and energy effects when crafting air pollution policies—a huge shift away from the Clean Air Act’s foundational principles, which concern only public health and science. The memo asks the EPA to make a clearer distinction between “purely scientific findings” and the “wider range of policy concerns that the Administrator must consider.” (To be sure, concerns like keeping his industry pals happy.)

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