EPA's Request to Delay Toxic Air Standards for Boilers Puts Lives at Risk

Agency must abide by law and courts and issue health protections on schedule


James Pew, Earthjustice, (202) 667-4500, ext. 214

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requested a 15-month extension in the deadline for its final standard to reduce toxic air pollution from industrial and commercial boilers and incinerators. The following is a statement from Earthjustice attorney James Pew on the extension:

"The EPA’s own predictions are that the standards for reducing toxic air pollution from industrial boilers could prevent nearly 5,000 premature deaths every year. By requesting an extension, the EPA is potentially placing the lives of thousands of Americans at risk.

"Americans need and deserve these health protections without delay. In addition to preventing the unnecessary deaths of many Americans, reducing toxic air pollution emitted by industrial boilers is expected to prevent 3,000 heart attacks, 3,200 emergency room visits, 33,000 cases of aggravated asthma, and 250,000 days of missed work every year. In total, the annual economic benefits of this action are expected to outweigh the costs by as much as 13-to-1.

"The Clean Air Act required the EPA to put these health protections in place more than ten years ago, by November 15, 2000. For more than five years, the agency has been under a court order to issue them. The attempt to delay these critically important, life-saving standards for yet another fifteen months shows distressing disregard for the American citizens who will suffer as a result and for the authority of our nation’s laws and courts."

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