Thursday, March 23, 2006

Science Advisors to EPA: Reconsider Your Weak Particle Soot Proposal


(Washington, DC, March 23, 2006) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s science advisors have officially asked EPA Administrator Steve Johnson to reconsider the agency’s proposed national air quality standards for particle soot.

In a March 21 letter, the advisors noted that EPA had proposed a weaker national health standard for particle soot than the advisors had previously recommended.
Scientific studies have shown health damage when people breathe air that EPA would consider healthful, the advisors noted.

“This is an unprecedented public rebuke to EPA by its independent panel of science advisors,” said Frank O’Donnell, president of the non-profit Clean Air Watch.

“Particle soot is the most lethal air pollutant in the nation. This letter underscores our concern that EPA’s proposal was tainted by politics and economic considerations, when it should have been based on science,” O’Donnell added.

The advisors took EPA to task on several major issues, including:

Urging the EPA to set a tougher standard to govern a person’s annual exposure to fine-particle soot;

Faulting the agency for exempting mining and agriculture from standards for bigger soot particles; and

Urging EPA to monitor particle pollution in both urban and rural areas.

“The next step is up to EPA Administrator Steve Johnson,” said O’Donnell.

“Will he stand up and do the right thing – and pay attention to his own science advisors? Or will he continue to bow to political pressure from the White House?”

The entire letter is available at the Clean Air Watch website at

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Clean Air Watch to EPA Chief: Bush Misleads Public About Dangers of Soot

Clean Air Watch
1090 Vermont Avenue, NW, Suite 800Washington, DC 20005

For Immediate Release



(Philadelphia, PA, March 8, 2006) – The non-profit Clean Air Watch today charged that the Bush administration is misleading the public about the health dangers of breathing particle soot pollution.

At a hearing today in Philadelphia, the clean-air watchdog group charged that an EPA proposal “was contaminated by politics and White House interference.”

Clean Air Watch was among many public health, environmental and citizen organizations criticizing an EPA plan to revise national air quality standards for
particle soot, produced by coal burning, diesel engines and other industrial and agricultural sources.

Frank O’Donnell, President of Clean Air Watch, noted these standards are “supposed to represent the federal government’s assessment – based on the best available science – of what level of pollution is safe to breathe.”

“By that measure,” O’Donnell added, “EPA’s proposal flunks the truth in advertising test.”

“The sad truth here is that the Bush administration is misleading the public about the dangers of particle soot.”

For the first time in history, O’Donnell noted, EPA disregarded its own science advisors on a national air quality standard, and proposed something weaker.

“When confronted with this fact, and asked why he had ignored his own experts, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson had no coherent explanation,” said O’Donnell. “In fact, he sounded like a naughty child who was caught fibbing about something.”

O’Donnell noted that unknown “White House censors” had tampered with the plan, as they have with government scientists with expertise on global warming. He cited several specific examples.

“The public should have the right to know if the air they are breathing can harm them,” O’Donnell said. “It is time for EPA to come clean. And tell the public the truth.”

Noting that medical doctors are urging the EPA to set significantly tighter new standards, while industry propagandists are arguing against that, O’Donnell added: “I implore you: Listen to the real doctors, not the spin doctors.”

The entire Clean Air Watch testimony is available at