EPA chief Scott Pruitt announced a change last week regarding future enforcement of the Clean Air Act. This change will include feedback from state and local governments on the economic impact of federal pollution regulations. Current federal law and U.S. Supreme Court decisions require the EPA to focus on public health rather than costs when it comes to setting limits for pollutants such as smog through the Clean Air Act.
Pruitt said these changes are meant to give states and local governments more say in environmental decisions. The EPA said it will ask its advisory committee members to counsel Pruitt on how enforcement of the Clean Air Act affects the economy, as well as health and welfare, energy and society.
This announcement highlights Pruitt’s part in assisting President Trump’s mandated rollbacks of key regulations on pollution from vehicles, businesses, agriculture and other sources. A 2017 rule also bars also scientists from serving on EPA advisory boards if they receive agency grants, a move Pruitt has stated was meant to prevent conflicts of interest. Critics of this ban have said it gives industry interests more of an advantage, and scientists less, in advising the EPA.
Pruitt’s EPA and the Trump administration have a history of prioritizing industry profits over public health. Air Alliance Houston urges the EPA to enforce existing regulations and prioritize human health and safety over industry interests. Our organization will continue to work to address and spread awareness about the harmful air pollutants affecting the health of Houstonians today.