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Soot Gets Editorial Ink

The historical significance of the Environmental Protection Agency's recently proposed new limits on fine particle pollution, colloquially called soot, wasn't lost on a number of editorial pages. Soot is a known killer—the science clearly indicates soot's connections to premature death, heart and lung damage, and potentially even cancer and developmental and reproductive harm.

The New York Times wrote: "New standards are long overdue. In 2006, the E.P.A. reviewed the standards but decided to leave them where they had been set nearly 10 years before… This was a favor to industry groups that did not want to make new investments in pollution controls. The agency's scientific advisory committee, which had recommended tighter standards, was so incensed that it issued a rare public rebuke."

Ultimately, it took a judge's rebuke to stir action at the agency. A court order won by Earthjustice on behalf of the American Lung Association and National Parks Conservation Association was a boot to the EPA's backside—just the encouragement needed to get things back on track after years of scientific denial and foot-dragging.

The San Francisco Chronicle editorial page reacted acidulously to the EPA's announcement: "It only took a court order and five years of delay for them to do the right thing."

Earthjustice attorney Paul Cort even got a much-deserved hat tip in the Chronicle editorial: "Earthjustice attorney Paul Cort, who represented the Lung Association and the National Parks Conservation Association in a successful lawsuit that is forcing the EPA to issue this rule, estimates that the new regulations will save 8,000 lives per year."

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, paper to a city that knows what a problem particulates are, wrote: "The move is a great day for public health, because microscopic particles can penetrate deep in the lungs and are linked to serious health issues—premature death, heart attacks, strokes, acute bronchitis and asthma in children. Nor is this uneconomical; a healthier population means lower health costs."

I'm pleased to see such strong support for new limits on deadly soot pollution. The comment period on this proposal will open soon, and ultimately, the voices that matter most are the public's. Make yours heard by joining us today.