April 03, 2020

Harris, Senators Call for Halt to EPA Rulemakings That Would Worsen Air and Water Pollution During Coronavirus Emergency

Request comes in wake of Trump Administration’s final fuel economy emissions rule that is projected to result in hundreds of additional deaths from air pollution alone

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the country learns more about the devastating risks posed by the novel coronavirus, U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) on Friday joined Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) in calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to halt any rulemakings or guidance documents that could cause in increase in toxic chemicals or air or water pollution, and therefore increase the risk of illness or death from the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the coronavirus may pose a higher risk of serious illness to people who have chronic lung disease, asthma, heart conditions, diabetes, or other chronic illnesses or who are immunocompromised. The lawmakers call on the EPA to halt action on rules to roll back standards on methane, coal ash, and mercury and toxic air pollution limits, among others. They additionally request a hold on the issuance of other guidance documents and risk assessments that could result in more toxic chemicals or air or water pollution, including on chemicals like trichloroethylene.

Along with Senators Harris and Markey, the letter was signed by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Bob Casey, Jr. (D-PA), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).

“The effects of this pandemic are dangerous enough and are already overwhelming and imperiling our health care infrastructure,” write the Senators in their letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “All federal agencies should be taking whatever steps they can to prevent worsening this already devastating pandemic, including refraining from actions that will exacerbate underlying conditions that leave people at greater risk for infection and death.”

A copy of the letter can be found HERE.