Racing against the clock to keep harming vulnerable people, the Trump administration put into place a last-minute decision to keep standards for soot levels in the air at their current threshold for the next five years. Let’s spell it out: That’s a decision against reining in a deadly air pollutant, in the middle of a respiratory disease pandemic.
Scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency had recommended tightening the threshold for soot and other particulates from the standard, set in 2012, of 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air to eight to 10 micrograms. According to estimates, a limit of nine micrograms could save 9,050 to 34,600 lives per year. Those lives would be disproportionately Black, Latino, and Asian American, given the concentration of pollution producers like incinerators, power plants, factories, and highways near neighborhoods where Black and brown people live.
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