Sen. Tom Carper, top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released a statement April 14 after the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a decision to not develop newer, more protective standards for particulate matter pollution and instead continue to implement the current national ambient air quality standards for PM.

PM is harmful, smog-causing air pollution produced by dirty power plants, automobiles and other sources and linked to serious health problems, like asthma, stroke, heart attack and early death.

“Science tells us that our current particulate matter pollution standards do not adequately protect public health,” said Carper. “But instead of seizing the opportunity to strengthen those standards, today, the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to keep on with the status quo. Instead of heeding the advice of its own scientists, the EPA is once again choosing polluters over public health. Instead of finding ways to reduce particulate pollution and better protect public health, the Trump administration is plowing ahead with regulations that do just the opposite.”

“This decision makes little sense given what Americans are facing right now,” Carper continued. “Our country is working around the clock to respond to a respiratory pandemic whose effects are likely exacerbated by particulate air pollution. Over the last few weeks, new studies have found that Americans living in areas with higher levels of particulate matter pollution are more likely to die from COVID-19 than those living in areas with cleaner air. What should be painfully obvious to all of us right now is that the cost of protecting public health is far less than the cost of breathing polluted air. It’s that simple. Yet, this EPA continues to actively ignore the recommendations of its own scientists, of public health experts and just plain common sense. This EPA is demonstrating a dangerous level of willful ignorance whose cost will be measured in people left unprotected and, ultimately, lives lost.”