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Washington/Canadian-Media: Disregarding Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s emerging scientific link between pollutants and respiratory illness as well as Covid-19 death rates, Trump administration on Monday declined to tighten controls on industrial soot emissions, media reports said.
EPA. Image credit: Website
A mandatory review by EPA scientists conducted if the federal government tightened that standard it could result in the decline of the annual deaths by about 27 percent, or 12,150 people a year.
After the publication of that report, the Trump administration was urged by numerous industries, including oil and coal companies, automakers and chemical manufacturers to disregard the findings and not tighten the rule
In a November 2019 public comment submitted by 13 industry groups, including the American Petroleum Institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Mining Association and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the industry representatives wrote, “significant uncertainty remains about the relationship between exposure to PM 2.5 and adverse effects on public health.”
Francesca Dominici, a professor of biostatistics at Harvard who led the study linking PM 2.5 pollution to Covid deaths, said she was “disappointed but not surprised” by the administration’s decision.
“This is highly irresponsible,” she said. “It follows this pattern of this administration ignoring science and scientists.”
Of the incoming Biden administration, she said, “I truly, truly hope they revise the rule. The evidence is there. It’s so bad.”
President-elect Joe Biden is planning to move forward quickly in his first months in office to reinstate and strengthen many of the environmental rules rolled back by Mr. Trump.
“Given the deadly nature of this pollutant, my advice to the new administration would be to very quickly embark on the process to make the standard more stringent,” said Richard Revesz, an expert on environmental law at New York University.
Biden’s environmental policy proposals include a pledge to “prioritize strategies and technologies that reduce traditional air pollution in disadvantaged communities.”