Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for all the information it has on the potential environmental and health impacts of the wildfires in Southern California, and the Agency's plans for responding to the air pollution and other health threats posed by the fires. Text of Senator Boxer's letter is included below, and the letter is attached to this press release in PDF format.

October 26, 2007
Stephen Johnson
United States Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20460-0001 (B)

Dear Administrator Johnson:

As you know, California is facing an environmental and human crisis as a result of a series of dangerous wildfires. EPA has a critically important role to play in protecting human health and the environment. Accordingly, I request that EPA immediately send the Committee the following information:

· All existing EPA assessments of the known or potential environmental and health impacts of these wildfires, and of potential future impacts of the wildfires;
· All monitoring or other data on particulate matter or other air pollutants likely to have been affected by the fires;
· A description of EPA's future plans to complete assessments to determine the impacts and risks to human health and the environment from the fires;
· A listing of the immediate or imminent threats to be addressed on a priority basis;
· The near-term (4 week) and longer term (1 - 24 month) EPA response and remedial plan;
· EPA's current and planned activities to communicate any health risks to the public, including vulnerable populations, from the fires, and any protective measures that may be necessary to protect individuals' health. Please explain the scientific basis for the agency's recommendations.

Earlier this week, staff from this Committee spoke with EPA's Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations seeking such information. Because of the obvious urgency of this situation, I ask that EPA give this request the highest priority, and that the agency send all available information described above by Tuesday, October 30. In addition, I request that you arrange a conference call with my Committee staff and officials from EPA Headquarters and the Regional offices, and other Federal agencies that are involved in assessing and responding to the health threats posed by the wildfires, by October 30.

Please contact our Staff Director Bettina Poirier at (202) 224-8832 if you have any questions.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.


                                      Barbara Boxer

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