Historically Marginalized Communities Largely Impacted by Hazardous Air Pollutants Could Find Some Relief Through a Rigid Clean Air Rule, But More is Needed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 6, 2023
Contact: Charmaine Riley, email@example.com
WASHINGTON — Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its long overdue National Ambient Air Quality Standards’ Particulate Matter (NAAQS PM) proposed rule. The Clean Air for the Long Haul coalition, a newly formed cohort of leading environmental justice organizations, recognizes the EPA’s efforts to prioritize environmental justice and civil rights in regulatory policies by proposing to update the existing particulate matter standard, however continues to urge the agency to enact much stronger soot pollution standards.
The NAAQS PM rule modernizes outdated soot standards that currently allow toxic levels of pollution that prematurely kill people, especially people of color. This newest standard is progress but, based on science, we urge the EPA to set stronger annual NAAQS PM standards of no higher than eight micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3)of air and to update the daily standard from 35 μg/m3 to no higher than 25 μg/m3 for the 24-hour standard, which could save nearly 20,000 lives each year
“Everyone should have the right to breathe clean air, however Brown and Black communities at the fenceline are exposed to daily excesses of air pollution,” said Atenas Mena, CleanAirNow Health Director. “The particulate matter NAAQs rule proposed by the EPA today is a step closer to addressing the health and economic impacts caused by decades of inadequate, racist environmental regulation.”
To promote health equity, the Clean Air for the Long Haul coalition urges the EPA to move quickly to finalize the strongest option backed by doctors, nurses and scientists. Stricter regulations will decrease the likelihood these communities will inhale particulate matter, which leads to respiratory problems, heart attacks, and premature death. The new soot protection standards must include a regulatory framework ensuring cleaner air for communities so that children, seniors, and other vulnerable populations can thrive.
“Though overdue, our enthusiasm still remains,” Mena added. “We look forward to a robust public comment period and working with environmental justice communities, Tribes, advocacy organizations, businesses, industry, and state and local governments to ensure the protections outlined are swiftly and equitably implemented across America’s most vulnerable communities. Our lungs cannot wait.”
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Clean Air For The Long Haul, a nationwide coalition of environmental justice groups, coordinates federal rulemaking campaigns, centering overburdened communities, to reduce air pollution from power plants, cars, and trucks. The coalition seeks to catalyze the environmental justice movement through federal emissions reductions targeting United States power and transportation sectors. Coalition member organizations include: Alternatives for Community and Environment, Clear Air Now, Coalition of Community Organizations, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, Duwamish River Community Coalition, Greendoor Initiative, New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance, South Bronx Unite, Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, West End Revitalization Association, and Wisconsin Green Muslims.