PETER RAFLE (202) 302-7086

Friday, December 8, 2006


Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today made the following statement on EPA’s latest rollback on setting standards for air pollutants. As incoming Chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Boxer pledged to make this ill-advised change a top priority for oversight in the next Congress.



Boxer’s statement follows:


“Since the Clean Air Act became law in 1970, EPA has set standards to protect public health from air pollution based on the best available science, not politics. This has occurred under both Democratic and Republican Presidents. For decades, the cornerstone of this process was that EPA got expert advice from the leading independent scientists, and then EPA scientists proposed standards to EPA managers based on the science and health evidence.


“Now, based largely on the recommendations of the American Petroleum Institute, EPA has taken a dangerous turn. Instead of basing health standards on the best science, they will now inject politics into the entire decision.


“This change in the process of determining standards for safe air for our families is deeply troubling to me, as well as health experts and former Republican EPA officials. Dr. Bernard Goldstein, a former EPA Assistant Administrator appointed by President Reagan, said that during his time at EPA, they had ‘always taken the advice of their scientists.’


“This rollback comes on the heels of EPA’s recent announcement that they are considering revoking the air standard for the toxic chemical lead. New data shows that lead poisons children’s brains and nervous systems at lower levels than previously thought, and probably causes cancer. These air pollutants hurt us all, but hurt children and the elderly the most. What does it say about this Administration’s values when it endangers the most vulnerable Americans?


“Under EPA’s plan, independent scientists will no longer work directly with top government officials to set health standards. EPA is turning its back on science. Once again the oil industry is working with the Bush-Cheney Administration to make science and health take a back seat to politics and profit.


“With this change, the American public should have little confidence in any EPA rule on air quality, and that is unacceptable. “This is exactly the kind of EPA rollback that requires close oversight by Congress. I have spoken with senior members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and we plan to make this ill-advised change a top priority for oversight in the 110th Congress.”