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News Release: Obama administration and EPA move forward with lifesaving protections against soot pollution

Minnesota groups support action that will save thousands of American lives annually

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 14, 2012

Contacts:
J. Drake Hamilton, Fresh Energy, 651.366.7557, hamilton@fresh-energy.org
Keven Kennedy, 202.276.3159, keven@kevenkennedy.com

St. Paul, MN – Today, a coalition of Minnesota clean energy, conservation, and environmental groups seeking federal clean air safeguards announced their support for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) just-finalized Soot Pollution Standard, an updated federal clean air standard that will protect Americans against the deadly health impacts of soot pollution.

The EPA’s action addresses one of the leading sources of poor air quality: soot. J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director at Fresh Energy, explained that “soot is a mix of tiny chemical and metal particles from car and truck exhaust and smoke from power plants and forest fires. When we breathe it in, soot can interfere with our lungs and increase the risk of asthma attacks, lung cancer, and even premature death. The smallest particles can pass into the blood stream and cause heart disease, stroke, and reproductive complications.”

Environment Minnesota’s Michelle Hesterberg applauded the Obama administration for pushing ahead this much-needed public health safeguard: “It will mean less deadly air pollution in our air, and that should make all Minnesotans breathe a little easier.”

The groups issued the following joint statement:

“Today, the Obama administration and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) put public health ahead of the polluter agenda by finalizing a new clean air standard that will protect Americans from dangerous soot pollution from power plants, motor vehicles and other industrial polluters. This action will ensure clean air and save thousands of lives annually. 

Soot is one of the deadliest forms of air pollution, causing a wide variety of serious diseases including heart attacks, strokes, asthma attacks and acute bronchitis.  The undeniable benefits of the Soot Pollution Standard have created broad and deep support for limiting soot pollution from dirty power plants, diesel trucks and other significant sources of soot pollution. A recent national survey by the American Lung Association finds that a strong majority of Americans support stricter limits on the amount of soot released from industrial facilities by a better than a two to one margin.

Soot kills. The health of more than a third of all Americans—particularly children and the elderly—is at continuing risk from soot pollution. We applaud the EPA for protecting public health and ignoring polluters’ well-funded scare tactics and attacks on clean air and public health protection.”

“Soot pollution damages the health of people and wildlife, “explained Gary Botzek of the Minnesota Conservation Federation. “The standard is another step toward protecting all Americans, critical habitats, and our wildlife.”

The Minnesota groups concluded that additional steps are needed in tackling America’s air quality issues. “We celebrate this victory for health and clean air and call on the EPA to move forward to set standards for carbon pollution that also damages the climate and human health” said Jessica Tatro, organizing representative for the Sierra Club – North Star Chapter.

The following groups have signed onto the statement:

Fresh Energy
Environment Minnesota
Minnesota Conservation Federation
Sierra Club – North Star Chapter

-end-

Today, a coalition of Minnesota clean energy, conservation, and environmental groups seeking federal clean air safeguards announced their support for the Environmental Protection Agency’s just-finalized Soot Pollution Standard, an updated federal clean air standard that will protect Americans against the deadly health impacts of soot pollution.

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