Environmental Justice Coalition Commends New EPA Soot Pollution Standards – Still Calls for Greater Enforcement to Protect Black & Brown Lives Harmed by Dirty Air

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE [February 7, 2024]

Contact: Jama Joseph, jama.joseph@weact.org, Ashley Sullivan, ashley.sullivan@weact.org , 1(917) 837-1183

While we commend the new soot pollution standard, we won’t stop fighting until we stamp out all forms of air pollution that make our communities sick and cut our lives short. Clean air is our right, and clean air is our fight. “ 

– Anastasia Gordon, federal policy director at WE ACT for Environmental Justice.

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final rule on soot pollution standards, also referred to as National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter (NAAQS PM). People of Color are exposed to higher-than-average soot pollution, which causes a range of negative health impacts from asthma, lung disease, and heart attacks to preterm births and premature deaths. The Clean Air for the Long Haul, a Cohort of over a dozen Environmental Justice groups across the U.S., released the following statement:

“Our members live, work and advocate in communities that are unequally and adversely impacted by particulate matter pollution, from rail hubs in Kansas City, incinerators in Louisiana, and hazardous industrial facilities and highways criss-crossing Black, Brown, immigrant, and working class neighborhoods across the country. This new rule will save thousands of lives, but science says the more stringent annual standard for Particulate Matter (PM) of 8 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) would save many more, especially in the most polluted communities of color.” 

President Biden and EPA Administrator Regan deserve credit for finalizing stronger soot pollution standards – setting the standard at 9 – that will slash air pollution for all Americans. However, we’re also disappointed that once again already vulnerable and historically disproportionately harmed Americans bear the brunt of compromise.

“The new standard must be accompanied with robust air quality monitoring and regulatory and mandated enforcement, especially in overburdened communities otherwise it gives a green light to polluters and the government to continue business as usual.” – Atenas Mena, CleanAirNow

For more on the science and the environmental justice imperatives of a stronger soot standard and other critical regulations, read the cohort’s recent detailed letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan here. To connect with our experts, please reach out to  jama.joseph@weact.org

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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,  CleanAirNow, 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.

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