Dear President Biden and EPA Administrator Regan:
We write to you as parents, seniors, doctors, young people and small business owners who are all concerned about toxic power plant pollution in our neighborhoods.
While we are extremely grateful to you both for your incredible leadership in passing historic investments in climate, jobs and justice in the Inflation Reduction Act, we write today to urge you to do more. We need you to move forward swiftly with strong solutions for pollution.
Research shows that children, pregnant people, older adults, and individuals with heart and lung disease are more susceptible to air pollution. Air pollution is hard to escape, impacting every community, especially those near major sources of pollution. Microscopic pollutants in the air can slip past our body's defenses, penetrating deep into our respiratory and circulatory systems, damaging our lungs, heart and brain.
According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, elevated levels of air pollution can lead to increased short-term respiratory infections in children, which in turn leads to more school absences, affecting children's education. For pregnant people, prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) was "associated with brain development effects, slower processing speed, attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms, and other neurobehavioral problems in urban youth."
The research is staggering in its impact: air pollution costs all of us in lives lost, environmental harm, and damage to local economies, especially for communities traditionally overburdened by pollution.
As President of the United States, and Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you have vast authority to protect public health and to meet your commitment to cut climate pollution in half by 2030–which you committed to doing and science says is needed.
We are grateful for all the ways your administration is beginning to address the public health and climate risks of power plant pollution. From soot and smog, to carbon pollution, ozone, coal plant wastewater, mercury and methane, we are thrilled that the EPA is working on a new set of standards to limit dangerous forms of power plant pollution.
However, we are deeply concerned by the apparent lack of urgency in moving forward with these important public health protections. Every day of delay means more toxic pollution spewed into our air and water. Every day of delay means more asthma attacks, cancer diagnoses, and premature deaths - many of which could be prevented with swift action!
In order to keep your climate promises and protect our health and our communities – especially those that have traditionally been overburdened with pollution – we need big, bold action without delay! Now is the moment to set the strongest possible pollution standards across federal agencies so we can meet your climate, public health and justice goals!
We proudly stand with the Solutions for Pollution coalition comprised of over 200 public health, youth, and environmental groups.
Our health – and our climate – can't wait. It's time to act boldly and act now to implement the strongest possible solutions for pollution! We know you can and will deliver on this, and there's no time like now to do so.