February 16, 2023

On February 13th, the Climate Action Campaign produced “Love Our Lungs,” an event calling on the Biden administration and EPA Administrator Michael Regan to strengthen their proposed soot pollution standard.

The standards themselves don’t directly set limits on any particular pollution source. Instead, they serve as a national guideline that can trigger EPA actions to ensure the air quality requirement is being met across the country. 

The majority of EPA’s own science advisers have also called for a tighter daily limit, saying that the standard should be somewhere between 25 to 30 micrograms per cubic meter.  

Congressman Don Beyer (VA-08) helped set the tone for the event when he said “We applaud them for getting the rule done, but we are disappointed that they didn’t go further.”

Each speaker shared why lowering the annual standard is a matter of life or death from their unique perspectives as doctors, public health specialists, scientists, and lawmakers.

As a pulmonary specialist, Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, MD MSH, National Spokesperson for the American Lung Association, shared “By putting tighter restrictions on air pollution, it’ll save more lives than any one doctor could ever do.”

Speakers also highlighted how strengthening this soot standard is a matter of environmental justice. Soot pollution has a disproportionate impact on communities already overburdened by pollution including Black and Hispanic communities, children, and the elderly.

LaTricea Adams, President and CEO of Black Millenials 4 Flint, spoke to why this rule is critical to correcting injustice when she shared her lifelong battle with asthma saying, “I wasn’t given a fair shot at access to clean air as a birthright, as a human right, too frequently denied to people who look just like me.”

Rounding out the panel of speakers were Johanna Chao Kreilick, President of the Union of Concerned Scientists and Dr. Elena Rios, President of the National Hispanic Medical Association who spoke to the scientific and public health impacts of the soot rule.

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