September 2, 2011
Contact: Oliver Bernstein, 512-289-8618
'Clean Air Will Have to Wait' – Obama Delays Smog Protections until at least 2013
Pressure from Polluters Leads to Missed Opportunity to Protect Our Kids from Dirty Air and Asthma
Washington, D.C. – Today, President Obama announced that he has requested that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdraw the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards that would have protected Americans from air pollution.
In response, Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, issued the following statement:
"The Sierra Club condemns the Obama administration's decision to delay critical, long-overdue protections from smog, an acidic air pollutant that when inhaled is like getting a sunburn on your lungs. By putting the interest of coal and oil polluters first, the White House seems to be saying that 'clean air will have to wait.'
"A healthy economy requires clean air and healthy people, and these protections from smog would have improved our communities and saved billions of dollars in health costs. Half of U.S. families live in places where it is literally unsafe to breathe the air, and kicking the inhaler down the road will do nothing to protect our children.
"We thank the scientists and public health professionals at the EPA for their commitment to science, and we look forward to the day when strong clean air protections will prevent thousands of premature deaths and tens of thousands of asthma attacks. The Sierra Club and the millions of Americans who have suffered through orange and red-alert air quality days this record-breaking summer will continue to push the Obama Administration to improve this protection in order to save lives and clean up our air."