Quantcast
Connect with us

Trump EPA ‘defies logic’ with emission standard rule—even as experts warn air pollution makes coronavirus more deadly

Published

on

FILE PHOTO: Acting Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Andrew Wheeler speaks during an event hosted by U.S. President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 17, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Decision by EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler denounced for being “as tone-deaf as it is reckless.”

On the heels of a Harvard University study which showed the long-term effects of air pollution can make coronavirus patients more likely to die from the disease, President Donald Trump’s EPA flouted its own scientists’ guidance Tuesday when it announced it would not tighten regulations on industrial soot emissions.

ADVERTISEMENT

According to the New York Times, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler determined that scientists at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health seemed “to have a bias” when they published a study last week showing that exposure to tiny industrial particles called PM 2.5 is making some Americans more likely to die of the coronavirus.

“If there ever was a moment for all Americans, regardless of political persuasion, to demand the Trump EPA stop gutting the nation’s air quality standards and finally place a premium on public health protection, it’s now.”
—Ken Cook, EWG

As a result, power plants and vehicle manufacturers will not be required to lower emissions.

“This decision by Andrew Wheeler is as tone-deaf as it is reckless,” said Environmental Working Group president Ken Cook in a statement. “Right now, long-term exposure to PM 2.5 is increasing the number of people who are dying from the coronavirus. If there ever was a moment for all Americans, regardless of political persuasion, to demand the Trump EPA stop gutting the nation’s air quality standards and finally place a premium on public health protection, it’s now.”

Even before the new coronavirus, officially called COVID-19, began spreading across the U.S. last month, killing more than 25,000 people in the country so far, scientists warned that PM 2.5 pollution contributes to tens of thousands of premature deaths in the U.S. every year.

ADVERTISEMENT

As the Times reported, scientists believe reducing emissions by only nine micrograms per cubic meter would save more than 12,000 people per year.

Wheeler’s decision “defies logic,” the advocacy group Environment America said.

“Even before COVID-19, the data clearly showed that America’s existing air quality standards weren’t doing enough to protect our health,” said Morgan Folger of Environment America. “Instead of foregoing its responsibility and mission to protect our health and the environment, EPA should listen to the scientists and strengthen soot protections.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Wheeler reportedly came to his decision following extensive lobbying by automakers and the fossil fuel industry, particularly after the EPA’s scientists released last September a 457-page assessment showing that PM 2.5 pollution helps cause about 45,000 deaths per year.

The administrator’s “appalling” adherence to the advice of industry polluters rather than scientists and public experts follows a familiar pattern, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) said.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Wheeler spent much of his career lobbying on behalf of powerful industries like coal producers, and it’s clear he sees his job at the EPA as a continuation of that work,” said Dr. Gretchen Goldman, research director for UCS. “Nearly every decision he’s made has been aimed at making it easier and cheaper to pollute, in defiance of science, the public interest, and the EPA’s public health mission he’s supposed to carry out. In the face of our current crisis, this indifference to our health is inexcusable.”


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

COVID-19

US far from herd immunity — with less than 10% of adults showing virus antibodies: study

Published

on

Around 90% of U.S. adults are at risk of contracting COVID-19, according to a new study from Stanford University.The study was published Friday in the medical journal The Lancet.Using data from dialysis centers across the nation, researchers found that less than 10% of adults had antibodies against COVID-19 by the end of July — which means that “herd immunity remains out of reach,” the study concluded.Herd immunity occurs when a significant part of the population becomes immune to an infectious disease.Those figures match a forthcoming study by the Centers of Disease Control, which should be p... (more…)

Continue Reading

COVID-19

Airlines say flying is safe in COVID-19 era — but study reveals potential for superspreader disaster

Published

on

SAN JOSE, Calif. — How risky is it to fly during the coronavirus pandemic?For clues, consider the travel histories of two of the country’s top infectious disease experts, each with parents on the other side of the country. One hasn’t flown since January when the new coronavirus was just emerging as a global threat.The other just flew back to San Francisco after visiting his 90-year-old father in Florida last month — wearing a face shield and removing his medical-grade N-95 respirator mask for just 30 seconds to chug some water and pretzels — and “felt pretty safe” to see everyone else wearing ... (more…)

Continue Reading
 

2020 Election

Joe Biden responds to Trump picking Amy Coney Barrett for the US Supreme Court

Published

on

Democratic 2020 nominee Joe Biden released a statement shortly after President Donald Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the United States Supreme Court.

"Election Day is just weeks away, and millions of Americans are already voting because the stakes in this election could not be higher. They feel the urgency of this choice – an urgency made all the more acute by what’s at stake at the U.S. Supreme Court," Biden wrote.

"They are voting because their health care hangs in the balance. They are voting because they worry about losing their right to vote or being expelled from the only country they have ever known. They are voting right now because they fear losing their collective bargaining rights. They are voting to demand that equal justice be guaranteed for all. They are voting because they don’t want Roe v. Wade, which has been the law of the land for nearly half a century, to be overturned," he explained.

Continue Reading
 
 
Democracy is in peril. Invest in progressive news. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free. LEARN MORE