Attorney General James Continues Fight Against Trump Admin For Clean Air

Attorney General James Continues Fight
Against Trump Admin for Clean Air

NEW YORK – Attorney General James today joined a multistate coalition in filing comments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Draft Policy Assessment regarding National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for Particulate Matter. Particulate Matter is a deadly pollutant emitted from a variety of sources including vehicles, factories, and power plants. Particulates are linked to many serious public health problems including premature mortality, cardiovascular disease, respiratory impacts, and cancer. In the comment letter, the attorneys general urge the EPA to consider and thoroughly evaluate the best available science on Particulate Matter emissions, exposure, and health effects and engage in a transparent, health-based assessment of the protectiveness of the current NAAQS.

“Particulate Matter is a deadly, substantial, and continuing threat to public health,” said Attorney General James. “It is imperative that NAAQS is based on a transparent, health-based assessment of the best available science to ensure they are adequately protective of public health and welfare. My office will continue to use every tool in our legal arsenal to fight for New Yorker’s right to breathe clean air and to keep them safe.”

In the comment letter, the attorneys general fault EPA for attempting to rush through the scientific process of reviewing the dangers from Particulate Matter exposure without essential input from the scientific community. Instead, the state coalition reminds EPA that the decision to revise current air quality standards should be transparent, based on current science, and in service of the public health. The attorneys general note EPA’s long-standing conclusion that exposure to fine Particulate Matter, known as PM2.5, is linked to serious harms to public health. The application of the current PM2.5 standards has led to reductions in ambient concentrations of Particulate Matter of 34 to 40 percent between 2000 and 2018. However, Particulate Matter at the level of current NAAQS continues to present significant health and welfare risks. Therefore, the coalition argues that EPA must remedy errors that are undermining the scientific integrity and transparency of the review process. The stakes are high: For example, current PM2.5 pollution levels in New York City are estimated to contribute to 2,300 deaths and 6,300 emergency department visits and hospitalizations for respiratory and cardiovascular disease each year.

Attorney General James joined the attorneys general of California, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, and Rhode Island in filing the comments.