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Trump administration declines to tighten soot rules, despite link to Covid deaths
(New York Times, 7 Dec 2020) Health experts say the E.P.A. decision defies scientific research showing that particulate pollution contributes to tens of thousands of premature deaths annually.
The Trump administration on Monday declined to tighten controls on industrial soot emissions, disregarding an emerging scientific link between dirty air and Covid-19 death rates.
In one of the final policy moves of an administration that has spent the past four years weakening or rolling back more than 100 environmental regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency completed a regulation that keeps in place the current rules on tiny, lung-damaging industrial particles, known as PM 2.5, instead of strengthening them, even though the agency’s own scientists have warned of the links between the pollutants and respiratory illness. In April, researchers at Harvard released the first nationwide study linking long-term exposure to PM 2.5 and Covid-19 death rates.
E.P.A. administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the rule Wednesday afternoon on a video call with reporters, joined by the governor and the deputy attorney general of West Virginia, who have urged President Trump to loosen rules on coal pollution since he first launched his presidential campaign .
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