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EPA Finalizes Soot Pollution Standard

Feb 7, 2024 | Press Releases

Press Statement

For Immediate Release: February 7, 2024

Contact: Tiffany Hartung, tiffany@interfaithpowerandlight.org

EPA Finalizes Soot Pollution Standard

Interfaith Power & Light network applauds stronger health protections

Washington, DC– Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced updated soot pollution standards. The update is an important step in protecting our air, advancing environmental justice, and protecting public health. 

Soot is a dangerous and deadly pollutant produced by power plants, tailpipes on cars and trucks, and industrial sources. It threatens public health and the environment — posing particular risks for children, seniors, and people with chronic illness. EPA estimates that the new rule will save 4,200 lives, avoid 5,400 cases of asthma onset, and avoid 270,000 lost workdays.

The burden of soot pollution is highly inequitable. It falls especially to low-wealth communities and communities of color that are already overburdened with pollution. 

As people of faith and conscience, our moral values call us to be good stewards of our Sacred Earth and ensure everyone is cared for. With this final rule, EPA has made progress toward environmental justice and public health goals that will clean up the air and save lives. 

The Interfaith Power & Light network celebrates this final soot rule as a critical step forward and will continue to push for improvements to further strengthen the annual standard and the unchanged 24-hour standard so that EPA can fully protect public health and limit spikes in soot pollution.

In response, Interfaith Power & Light’s President and affiliates released this statement:

Rev. Susan Hendershot, President of Interfaith Power & Light:

“EPA’s updated soot protections are a step forward in helping protect our communities from deadly air pollution. With this rule, we have a moral opportunity to advance environmental justice, ensure that our neighbors have clean air to breathe, and care for those most vulnerable to these pollutants. No one should be forced to live in a community where it is hazardous to simply breathe the air.”

Melanie Beikman, Executive Director of Arizona Interfaith Power & Light: 

“Nearly 70 percent of Arizona residents live in counties with failing grades for particle pollution. Soot pollution is deadly, and the current standards are outdated. These tighter EPA standards for soot pollution will save lives our communities.”

Codi Norred, Executive Director of Georgia Interfaith Power & Light:

“Over 730,000 adults and 240,000 children in Georgia suffer from asthma, with the disease disproportionately affecting black and brown communities and communities with lower incomes. As people of faith, it is our moral responsibility to support these stronger soot pollution standards that protect Georgians’ health and advance environmental justice. Everyone deserves clean air!” 

Katie Ruth, Executive Director of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light:

“Our faith traditions declare people and the planet to be sacred. Pennsylvania has some of the worst air quality in the country, with Pittsburgh ranking as the 14th worst city in the country for year-round particle pollution, and Philadelphia coming in shortly behind at 18th. Pennsylvanians need these stronger soot pollution standards to protect our health and advance environmental justice. This is not just smart policy, it is a moral imperative.”

Rev. Brian Sauder, CEO of Faith in Place (WI, IL, IN Interfaith Power & Light affiliate):

“Over 460,000 adults and 75,000 children in Wisconsin suffer from asthma and need protection from soot pollution. People of faith and conscience want and need these updated EPA soot pollution standards.”

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Interfaith Power & Light works in all 50 states and U.S. territories with a broad national network of state- and regional-level affiliates. IPL inspires and mobilizes people of faith and conscience to take bold and just action on climate change.

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