Marc Morano 202-224-5762

Matt Dempsey 202-224-9797

September 21, 2006 WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee, today commented on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final rule on national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter.

“I am disappointed that EPA is tightening the particulate matter standard in today’s final rule. Recognizing that Administrator Stephen Johnson is a scientist himself, I respect his judgment and his command of the science, but I respectfully disagree that this new rule meets the threshold burden of proof necessary to impose these costly requirements on our nation’s economy,” Senator Inhofe said.

The nation’s air pollution has been reduced by more than half since 1970, and has especially improved in the eastern half of the country, where under the leadership of President Bush, NOx emissions have dropped by nearly 60% in the last five years alone. These reductions have come despite a growing population and economy and an explosion in energy use. As the American Lung Association has noted, “air quality has improved throughout the nation. The air is cleaner than it was 50 years ago. Improving air quality has improved the lives of countless Americans.”

“Unfortunately, clean air progress has not been uniform across the country, as some regions are not expected to comply with existing law,” Senator Inhofe said. “Recognizing this fact, I recently introduced legislation to ensure that the nation’s worst polluted areas comply with the laws of the land. The simple fact is that more than half of the avoidable deaths from air pollution in this country occur in California, and most of these lives could be saved if the worst polluted areas were to attain the same clean air standards that the rest of the nation is going to meet. Passing my bill would eliminate thousands of deaths in the worst polluted areas. Finally, my bill will do far more to save lives than the approach taken by special interest groups, who are today calling for even tighter standards everywhere, while ignoring that the most polluted areas are not expected to attain even existing standards, so further tightening the rule will do nothing to safeguard these people’s lives.”