Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh joined a coalition of state attorneys general in calling on the Trump administration to institute stricter air quality standards.
In April, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that they were proposing to forgo revision of particulate matter air quality standards and maintain those put in place in 2012. Yesterday, attorneys general from 17 states including Maryland wrote to EPA explaining their view that federal air quality standards are due for an update, and retaining the outdated standards is flawed and unlawful under the Clean Air Act. They argue that EPA has sought to suppress compelling evidence that would require them to revise air quality standards.
“Reducing particulate pollution is essential for protecting our residents’ health and welfare,” said Attorney General Frosh. “The EPA excluded experts from the review process and ignored the science supporting more stringent standards. That is not acceptable.”
From the press release:
Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA is required to set NAAQS for several pollutants including particulate matter. The standards are required to be set at a level that protects public health, safety, and welfare. The EPA is then required to review the standards once every five years and revise them if new information shows that the existing standards are inadequate.
The EPA’s own science, which already underestimates risk, shows that deaths from PM2.5 emissions range from 16,000 to 17,000 annually. In addition to premature mortality, particulate matter is linked to many serious public health problems including cardiovascular disease, respiratory impacts, and cancer. Particulate matter is a pollutant emitted from a variety of sources including vehicles, factories, and construction sites. Research shows that low-income and minority communities are disproportionately exposed to particulate matter and the associated health risks.