WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to announce it has finalized its new smog rule on Wednesday. Even though scientists and health experts recommend stronger pollution standards to protect American lives, the regulation maintains standards at 2015 levels. Ordinarily, the agency assembles a panel of expert scientists to review the recent research and recommend appropriate pollution limits. Under the Trump administration, EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler disbanded the expert panel and restricted the review of scientific studies.
Under this rule, ground-level ozone (O3) — which is harmful to human health — will continue to be emitted at dangerous levels. In contrast, a stronger standard would protect the health of millions of Americans, according to peer-reviewed studies.
Morgan Folger, director of the Environment America Destination: Zero Carbon Campaign, issued the following statement:
“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 emitting unacceptable levels of smog into our air. In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are more keenly aware than ever of the need to take care of our health. Our lungs especially are highly susceptible to the exponential danger of the coronavirus and pollution.
“Environment America has testified in support of stronger air quality standards on behalf of our members and all Americans. People in every state face health risks from ground-level ozone pollution. Rushing to finalize a rule that will harm our families’ health is unacceptable and many thousands of Americans will tragically pay the price with their lives.”
This post was originally published on Radio Free.