All the usual suspects have lined up against the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed tightening of air pollution regulations.

by Kate Aronoff, The New Republic

Who’s against saving tens of thousands of lives every year? The Environmental Protection Agency last week announced a proposal you’d think everyone would cheer: tightening decade-old regulations on air pollution, with massive projected public health benefits.

Yet the titans of industry aren’t happy. Asked about the proposed changes by The Washington Post, Chad Whiteman, vice president of environment and regulatory affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute, said that while “it is important to continue making progress, we are concerned that the proposed regulation would stifle manufacturing and industrial investment and exacerbate permitting challenges that continue to hamper the economy.”

Smokestack in factory with yellow sky and clouds

The EPA has proposed lowering annual exposure limits for particulate matter produced from power plants, highways, construction, and other industrial facilities. Particulates of 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5), including soot, are among the most deadly air pollutants thanks to their ability to seep through lung tissue and into the bloodstream. Long- and short-term exposure can lead to heart attacks, asthma attacks, and premature death; long-term exposure to particulate matter has been found to cause between 13,500 and 52,100 premature deaths each year. Air pollution and its health effects are disproportionately concentrated in communities of color. A 2019 study from the Union of Concerned Scientists found that people of color in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic breathe 66 percent more air pollution from vehicles than white residents. The study further found that white residents constituted 85 percent of people living in areas with the lowest PM2.5 pollution from on-road vehicles.

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