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Dingell: “Disturbing and Unacceptable” Pruitt Can’t Answer Questions about Impact of EPA’s Toxic Pollution Rollback on Public Health

Washington, DC, May 2, 2018

Today, during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment, U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) questioned Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt about the agency’s recent rollback of a critical longstanding policy that limits toxic air pollution from factories and industrial operations. Dingell asked Pruitt whether EPA had conducted any assessment of the impact of this decision on public health or the magnitude of increased air pollution nationally.

“It is disturbing and unacceptable that Administrator Pruitt could not answer significant questions on the real impact of EPA’s recent decision to rollback limits on toxic air pollutants, including many that cause cancer such as mercury, arsenic and lead,” said Dingell. “This is likely to have devastating consequences for people in communities across the country, yet Administrator Pruitt could not tell me whether EPA analyzed how this decision could impact the health of children, babies, pregnant women, older Americans or those with chronic health problems, or minority and low-income communities. He could only tell me that it provided an incentive to companies.

“This should bother all of us. It is the responsibility of EPA to protect human health and the environment against potential harms, not subject the public to more hazards in order to increase industry profits. We know that this decision will increase emissions of toxic pollutants that are the worst of the worst, and Mr. Pruitt needs to be transparent immediately on whether public health was considered in this decision-making process. If we find that public health was not considered at all, this is just another reason why this flawed rollback should be reversed.”

For video of Dingell’s questions and Pruitt’s answers, please click here.

Yesterday, Dingell and Congressman Don Beyer (VA-08) led 87 Representatives in sending a letter to Pruitt urging him to reinstate the “once in, always in” policy for major sources of hazardous air pollutants. In January, EPA announced the roll back of this guidance—in place since 1995—without providing notice to the public or opportunity for comment. This policy institutes important safeguards to permanently reduce hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) known to cause cancer, reproductive harm and developmental issues in children. For more information, please click here.

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