On July 18th the House passed H.R. 806, the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017, which contrary to its name actually delays the implementation of 2015 regulations that called for stricter control of the air pollutant ozone. The 2015 regulations lowered the allowable levels of ozone that states cannot exceed. In addition, this new bill reduces the EPA’s assessment of the health effects of ozone from once every 5 years to once every 10 years. Supporters of H.R. 806 claim that the 2015 regulations place an undue burden on industry and do not take into account jobs and the economy. Ozone in the upper atmosphere protects people from harmful solar radiation, but high concentrations of ozone near the Earth’s surface destroy crops, aggravate asthma, and can increase the risk of pulmonary diseases like emphysema and bronchitis. The American Lung Association, National Medical Association, and other medical groups oppose H.R. 806 and refer to it as the “Smoggy Skies Act.” The bill’s Senate counterpart, S. 263, is currently undergoing hearings but faces stiffer opposition than in the House from Senate Democrats. Here is a link to a petition to voice opposition to the Smoggy Skies Act.
This week, we donated to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) that works to preserve the natural systems on which all life depends. EDF utilizes research, policy, partnerships, and economic incentives to drive environmental progress. In recent years EDF reformed decades-old chemical safety laws, reduced toxic chemicals in consumer products from retailers such as Walmart and Target, introduced an innovative sustainable fishing method, drove research and policy limiting emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane on 245 million acres of land, and created a new conservation tool known as “habitat exchanges” to protect threatened wildlife.
We believe that the current administration’s negligent environmental policy and attacks on science will have devastating consequences for not just our generation, but all future generations. This earth is our one-and-only home, and we need to care for it well and fight for its protection. This is not just a matter of politics. It is a matter of life and health for our planet, our people and our future.