Citizen Health & Safety
Once Again, Oil Industry Puts Profits Before People in Fight for Stronger Ozone Standards
-For Immediate Release-
Monday, May 18, 2015
Contact: Brian Gumm, 202-683-4812, firstname.lastname@example.org
Once Again, Oil Industry Puts Profits Before People in
Fight for Stronger Ozone Standards
WASHINGTON, May 18, 2015—The oil industry has launched a misleading advertising campaign against stronger air quality standards. Touting the success of clean air standards that they consistently opposed, the American Petroleum Institute ads ignore the fact that new scientific research shows that today’s weak standards are not strict enough to protect the health of young children, the elderly, and those with asthma or respiratory problems. In fact, over 206 million Americans in 46 states now breathe air that scientists say is harmful to human health.
"We've made great strides in cleaning up dirty air since the Clean Air Act was passed nearly 45 years ago," said Katherine McFate, president and CEO of the Center for Effective Government. "But that doesn't mean the job is done, especially when it comes to dangerous pollution like ozone."
The American Petroleum Institute ads insist that the current ozone standard (set at 75 parts per billion) is just fine, but scientists disagree. Scores of public health and children's health professionals have urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to bring ozone levels down to 60 parts per billion.
"The American people need cleaner air," said Ronald White, director of regulatory policy at the Center for Effective Government. "It's unconscionable for the American Petroleum Institute to raise false flags on this matter of life and death."
As a Center for Effective Government report and interactive map, Gasping for Support, show, over 206 million Americans would breathe cleaner air under an ozone standard of 60 parts per billion. This would save thousands of lives each year.
Compared to current levels, an ozone standard of 60 parts per billion would prevent:
- Up to 5,800 premature deaths every year
- 2,100 hospital admissions for breathing problems every year
- 6,600 asthma-related visits to the emergency room every year
- 1.7 million asthma attacks in children every year.
Reducing today’s ozone levels to meet this stricter standard would produce $12-20 billion in health benefits annually by 2025. And these estimates do not include the additional $2.1-3.6 billion in health benefits that would occur when California meets a stricter standard years later.
"Polluters objected to stricter ozone protections back in the mid-1990s and warned of dire economic consequences, but the American Petroleum Institute's own ad campaign shows those predictions didn't come true," White said. "Polluters complained again in the late 2000s when EPA set the current standard. Now they're objecting again. How many times will the American Petroleum Institute have to cry wolf before we stop taking them seriously?"
"EPA should base air quality standards on what scientists and public health researchers tell us is necessary to prevent disease, not on industry’s discredited economic estimates," said White. "Do you want to trust the health of your kids to public health professionals, or to the PR department at the American Petroleum Institute?"
The Center for Effective Government report and interactive map are available online at http://www.foreffectivegov.org/gasping-for-support.
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