For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Morgan Folger, Environment America Clean Cars Campaign Director, 203-343-1736,
Ross Sherman, Communications Associate, 207-749-2660, 

Statement: EPA Decision on Air Quality Standards ‘Defies Logic’

Action comes as evidence emerges linking pollution, COVID-19 risk

WASHINGTON - Ignoring recommendations from its own scientists, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opted Tuesday not to strengthen standards on industrial soot emissions. Fine particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers, referred to as PM 2.5, poses especially high health risks because it can be deposited deep in the lungs. A first-of-its-kind study from Harvard published last week found that long term exposure to PM 2.5 made someone more likely to die from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Morgan Folger, Clean Cars Campaign director for Environment America, issued the following statement:

"At a time when America is experiencing a respiratory virus pandemic, it defies logic that our federal government is deciding not to tighten air pollution standards. Especially given the growing evidence that Americans experiencing poor air quality are at heightened risk of dying from COVID-19.


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"Even before COVID-19, the data clearly showed that America’s existing air quality standards weren’t doing enough to protect our health. Instead of foregoing its responsibility and mission to protect our health and the environment, EPA should listen to the scientists and strengthen soot protections." 


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Environment America is a federation of state-based, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organizations. Our professional staff in 27 states and Washington, D.C., combines independent research, practical ideas and tough-minded advocacy to overcome the opposition of powerful special interests and win real results for the environment. Environment America draws on 30 years of success in tackling environmental problems.

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