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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Clean Air Watch Assails EPA Soot Decision - Agency Ignores Its Own Science Advisers

Washington, DC. September 21, 2006 – The nonprofit Clean Air Watch today assailed the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to set weak and “non-scientific” air pollution standards for particle soot.

“With this decision, the Bush Administration has abdicated its responsibility to protect breathers from dangers in the air,” charged Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch.

“This is a huge victory for big polluters, and a deadly setback for the breathing public. It is the single worst action the Bush administration has taken on air pollution.”

O’Donnell noted that literally dozens of medical and health groups – including the American Medical Association, the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics – had all urged the EPA to set much tougher standards to reduce both short-term and long-term exposure to particle soot.

EPA’s independent science advisers had echoed that call.

But EPA Administrator Steve Johnson disregarded that scientific advice in the face of pressure from big polluters, including the oil, electric power, coal, chemical, steel, automotive and diesel engine industries – big financial contributors to the Bush White House. O’Donnell noted an electric power industry lobbyist met with the White House on this issue as recently as Monday, September 18.

“EPA’s decision was based on political science, not real science,” noted Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch. “Why else would EPA disregard its own science advisers?”
O’Donnell noted that particle soot is the “most lethal” of all widespread air pollutants. Sources include coal-burning electric power plants, diesel engines and other smokestack industries.

Particle soot can trigger asthma attacks, heart attacks and premature death. EPA’s own studies show that tens of thousands of Americans are dying prematurely from exposure to this deadly menace.

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