WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, released the following statement after voting with Senate Democrats to pass the American Rescue Plan.

“The American people need support during this challenging time of crisis. The American Rescue Plan passed today helps our communities in need and puts our nation on the road to recovery,” said Senator Carper. “In addition to passing key relief measures for families, I’m proud that we succeeded in including crucial investments to address the economic, environmental, and public health challenges facing the nation.

“I’m delighted that we took action on the serious public health impacts associated with air pollution exposure during this pandemic—a situation that is devastating communities across the country. With this funding, we will help communities across the country make critical investments in identifying and easing the pollution burden they face. We do so through proven EPA grant programs known to reduce pollution and spur economic opportunities—a win-win.”

Chairman Carper’s leadership secured the following investments in the COVID-19 relief bill passed today:

$100 million to address environmental factors and COVID-19:

Communities with higher air pollution exposure have experienced significantly higher COVID-19 mortality rates. Just as air pollution poses special risks to those with asthma and other respiratory diseases, pollution poses extra risks for those suffering from COVID.

The American Rescue Plan helps us get a handle on this deadly situation by providing funds for the Environmental Protection Agency to address health outcome disparities from pollution and the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency will do this through $50 million in grants to minority and low-income communities.

The relief bill also includes critical funds to help the federal government, states, and communities monitor and mitigate air pollution that puts Americans at risk of dying prematurely from COVID-19 or a future pandemic.

$95 million to work on preventing future pandemics:

The American Rescue Plan provides $65 million to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to prevent wildlife trafficking and create robust tracking and monitoring systems that can help us prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19.

The legislation also provides $30 million in relief for zoos and aquariums that have experienced lost revenues due to the coronavirus and are caring for federally owned, confiscated, and/or species protected by the Endangered Species Act.

$3 billion to strengthen local economies and support communities:

States and communities across the nation are struggling to make ends meet after the pandemic upended their economies. Many of these communities suffer from significant job losses and the closure of many small businesses. These cities and small towns across the nation have diverse economies and many depend on tourism, outdoor travel, and recreation—sectors that have been devastated in the past year by COVID-19.

The American Rescue Plan provides $3 billion in key funds for the Economic Development Administration to assist and support communities suffering from job losses and economic challenges.