House Energy and Commerce Committee Democratic Leadership Question Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Rollback Policies

Feb 1, 2019

Democratic leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee recently sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requesting further information regarding EPA’s clean air rollbacks. Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee Chairman Paul Tonko (D-NY) requested information on five specific areas in which they note EPA is taking or planning on taking action:

  • Weakening mercury and air toxics standards;
  • Undermining protections against toxic air pollution by withdrawing the longstanding “Once in Always in” (OIAI) policy;
  • Undermining human health protections against harmful exhaust from certain freight trucks;
  • Undermining scientific integrity in reviewing and setting National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) under the Clean Air Act (CAA); and
  • Weakening and discrediting the role of science in Agency proceedings.

“Congress and the public require a more detailed explanation of EPA’s actions to assess the consequences of these policy changes. We request information to enable to Committee to evaluate the potential effects of these actions on public health and the environment.”

A recently press release from the Energy and Commerce Committee notes that recent release of the administration’s Fourth National Climate Assessment stated that over 100 million people in the U.S. currently live in areas where air pollution exceeds air quality standards. The assessment explained that without more stringent air quality standards, air quality will continue to deteriorate. This will lead to consequences such as increased adverse health effects, primarily among vulnerable populations such as older adults, pregnant women, and children.

The Committee requests a response to its letter no later than February 11.
To view the letter in full, click here: https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/EPA.2019.1.28.%20Letter%20re%20EPA%20Air%20Rollbacks.EE_.OI_.pdf