EPA to Change the Way it Calculates Health Risks from Air Pollution

by | May 20, 2019

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced it will be changing the way it calculates future health risks of air pollution. And according to the New York Times, the shift means the EPA would predict thousands of fewer air pollution-related deaths and the new calculations would help “justify the planned rollback of a key climate measure.”

The proposed new calculations rely on unfounded medical assumptions, instead of using years’ worth of EPA data regarding the health hazards of fossil-fuel related air pollution. As the news articles states: “The new methodology would assume there is little or no health benefit to making the air any cleaner than what the law requires. On paper, that would translate into far fewer premature deaths from air pollution, even if it increased. The problem is, scientists say, in the real world there are no safe levels of fine particulate pollution in the air.”

The EPA has been under fire recently. In February, it was announced that agroup of states in the Northeast would be challenging the EPA to keep its promise to enforce adherence to stricter ozone emission standards from upwind states. In litigation filed in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, six states and New York City are attempting to hold the EPA responsible for ozone pollution standards, following a decision in December by the Trump Administration to take no further action on controlling such emissions from coal-powered plants in upwind states until at least 2023. States involved in the action include Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.

And in September 2018, Maryland officials announced plans to appeal an EPA decision to deny the state’s efforts to reduce emissions from 36 power plants in five upwind states. Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said the EPA’s decision is “wrong” and if the ruling is allowed to stand, “the air Marylanders breathe will be dirtier, especially on the hottest days of the summer — through no fault of ours,” according to the Baltimore Sun.


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