Today, along with moms from around the country, I’m heading into a virtual meeting to fight against Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s latest attack on our children’s health.
Ground-level ozone, or smog, is one of the most widespread air pollutants in the US. It can cause asthma attacks and lung infections – the same respiratory health issues that make people more susceptible to the worst impacts of COVID-19. Communities of color face a disproportionate burden of exposure to smog, with children and older adults being most vulnerable. Right now, EPA is weighing whether to strengthen national standards for smog. We need stronger protections to keep families safe. But we are concerned that the EPA is getting ready to propose standards that don’t adequately protect Americans from smog.
The very breath of thousands of Americans is threatened. Moms will not stand for it.
Today we’re speaking with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the federal agency that is doing a review of this proposal, sharing the dangerous impacts ground level ozone has on communities. We are sharing the stories of families in some of the most smog-polluted cities: Denver, Las Vegas, and Phoenix. And we are demanding that they protect our families from smog.
Just in the course of the coronavirus pandemic, Wheeler has launched the following attacks on our health and families:
- He has gutted tailpipe pollution standards, which will increase air pollution in our communities, force drivers to spend more at the pump, and exacerbate the ongoing climate crisis.
- He has granted a pollution waiver for industry, giving polluters a green light to pollute during the coronavirus pandemic.
- He has proposed too-weak standards for fine particle pollution, ignoring the considerable science linking even low levels of this type of pollution to lung infections, heart attacks, and early death.
- He has moved to censor the types of scientific research that EPA can consider when setting pollution standards.
- And he has continued his campaign to weaken protections from toxic mercury emissions, which come from coal fired power plants and are particularly harmful to babies.
Each and every one of these attacks is connected by one harrowing theme, core to this EPA’s strategy: putting polluter profits over people, disproportionately harming communities of color. Wheeler’s EPA knows this, but they go ahead.
We must fight against EPA’s racist agenda from every angle, at every point in the process. Today, we’re raising our voices against the latest attack with the Office of Management and Budget. But we need Congress on our side as well.
The EPA is responsible for protecting human health and the environment. The color of a person’s skin does not exempt them from that protection. Trump’s EPA under Andrew Wheeler’s leadership is actively harming communities of color. We must fight back.
For clean air,
Public Health Policy Director
Moms Clean Air Force
P.S. It’s up to our community of over one million moms, dads, and children’s health advocates to keep speaking up, demanding a stop to these attacks, once and for all.