While the United States has been battling Covid-19, a virus that attacks and damages lung function, Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency has been feverishly weakening regulations that protect us from air pollution.
Just today, Administrator Andrew Wheeler has refused to strengthen the current national standards for deadly particulate pollution — despite robust scientific evidence showing that the current standards are not adequately protecting Americans from asthma, heart attacks, stroke, premature death and other health problems.
With new research showing that breathing polluted air actually increases your risk of succumbing to the worst ravages of Covid-19, these regulatory rollbacks have never been so dangerous.
We are outraged by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s actions. They’re terrible under any circumstance. But now, they are indecent. They defy norms of reasonable behavior. For that reason, we are demanding that Andrew Wheeler resign. He is making us sicker.
I want to remind you of exactly why air pollution is so dangerous: tiny particles enter your lungs, cross their soft, spongy edges, irritating or damaging them, and easily get into the bloodstream. Blood carries that pollution into our hearts, as well. Air pollution is linked to asthma attacks, deaths from stroke and lung disease, premature births and low birthweight, and even fetal brain damage.
Any EPA Administrator who fights to cut protections from pollution is not doing their job, and putting us in harm’s way.
As a Cabinet Secretary, Wheeler heard the same briefings everyone in the White House did, beginning in January. Yet even as the Covid-19 crisis was unfolding, and it was clear it targeted our respiratory and cardiovascular systems, Wheeler kept pushing through his dangerous rollbacks.
Here’s what Andrew Wheeler has been doing to make our lungs and hearts even weaker, during a global respiratory pandemic:
- He has gutted tailpipe pollution standards, which will increase air pollution in our communities, force drivers to spend more at the pump, and exacerbate the ongoing climate crisis.
- He has granted a pollution waiver for industry, giving polluters a green light to pollute during the coronavirus pandemic.
- He has proposed too-weak standards for fine particle pollution, ignoring the considerable science linking even low levels of this type of pollution to lung infections, heart attacks, and early death.
- He has moved to censor the types of scientific research that EPA can consider when setting pollution standards.
- And he has continued his campaign to weaken protections from toxic mercury emissions, which come from coal fired power plants and are particularly harmful to babies.
Now it’s up to our community of over one million moms, dads, and children’s health advocates, to demand a stop to these attacks, once and for all.
We will fight with everything we have to protect our families from Wheeler’s dangerous agenda. These attacks have been the final straw — it’s time for Wheeler to resign.