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Statement of Bernadette Toomey, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Lung Association
Date:3/12/2008

to the nation's landmark air pollution law, the Clean Air Act, the EPA must set our air quality standards at levels that protect the health of the public, including children, older people, and people who suffer from chronic lung diseases. The EPA's own expert scientific advisors unanimously recommended a stronger standard that would provide much more protection -- advice the Agency ignored. Sixteen major medical societies and public health organizations -- including the American Lung Association -- repeatedly urged the EPA to follow the overwhelming evidence for a truly protective standard. Our recommendations also went unheeded.

Instead of following the law, the Administrator has proposed, incredibly enough, dismantling the core principles that are embodied in the Clean Air Act -- legal requirements that have enabled us to reduce deadly forms of air pollution. The Administrator offers to play "pick your poison" with public health, allowing the state and local governments to determine which pollutants to ignore and which to clean up. The Clean Air Act recognized these pollutants as the national priority because they were the most widespread and dangerous. The Act assigned the EPA Administrator the responsibility to set standards to protect the health of all of the public from these pollutants, not just some people, and required the states and local governments to reduce the burden of all these pollutants, not just some of them. History has shown that when communities pick and chose who gets protected, those left behind, exposed to the worst, are usually the weak, the young, the old and those who face life-threatening disease. The Administrator cannot promote such discrimination.

Basic to those principles is the requirement that the national ambient air quality standards protect public health with an adequate margin of safety. The Supreme Court unanimously confirmed that protecting public health be the sole basis for the Administrator's decision on
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SOURCE American Lung Association
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