Reduce Air Pollution and Save Lives

Target: Heather Higginbottom, Deputy Director, White House Office of Budget and Management

Goal: Cut down on airborne soot pollution

We are on the cusp of cementing a significant reform to the Clean Air Act. The update, which was proposed by the EPA, would place tighter restrictions on fine particulate matter, otherwise known as soot.  If adopted, the new Soot Standard would reduce the annual exposure standard from 15 micrograms per cubic meter to between 12 and 13. The proposal is currently under review by the White House Office of Budget and Management, with the EPA expected to finalize the rule soon.

Once established, this small but significant reduction would help reduce rates of asthma, respiratory illness, and premature death, and could save as many as 37,000 thousand lives each year, according to the American Lung Association.  Additionally, a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health established a link between reductions in fine particulate matter and life expectancy.

In addition to its health benefits, the new regulation would yield significant economic benefits. According to the EPA, “benefits will range from $88 million a year, with estimated costs of implementation as low as $2.9 million, to $5.9 billion in annual benefits with a cost of $69 million — a return ranging from $30 to $86 for every dollar invested in pollution control.”

Unfortunately, the new rule has been the target of lobbying from the oil industry and other polluters. And, despite the evidence, GOP members of the House Energy and Commerce committee have argued that the new “stringent standards that seek to control a ubiquitous and naturally occurring pollutant will likely be costly and have significant regulatory and other implications,” according to The Hill.

It is important for the administration and EPA to stand firm and establish this modest, but significant increase in the restriction of soot. Help them combat opposition efforts and voice your support for the new standard by signing the petition below.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Deputy Director Higginbottom,

It’s time to enact the first update to restrictions on particulate pollution in 15 years by establishing the EPA’s proposed new Soot Standard. The modest reform, which would lower the annual exposure standard from 15 micrograms per meter to between 12 and 13, would reduce rates of asthma, respiratory illness, and premature death. According to American Lung Association, the new rule would save 37,000 lives each year.

In addition to saving lives and improving public health, it also makes great economic sense. According the EPA reports, “benefits will range from $88 million a year, with estimated costs of implementation as low as $2.9 million, to $5.9 billion in annual benefits with a cost of $69 million — a return ranging from $30 to $86 for every dollar invested in pollution control.”

I urge you to stand up to industry lobbyists and their allies in congress and help protect American lives. Reduce soot pollution and pave the way for a cleaner future, uphold the new Soot Standard.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Environmental Protection Agency

 

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