WASHINGTON, DC – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement after the Obama Administration unveiled an update to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for smog, setting the level at 70 parts per billion (ppb). In July of this year, the Congressional Progressive Caucus joined scientists, medical health experts and public health advocates in calling for a standard of 60 ppb.

“Experts have said for years that allowing a standard for smog above 60 ppb places Americans at risk – especially children, seniors and people with respiratory illnesses. The recent update to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards represents incremental progress--but it is not good enough.  We are pleased to see these standards strengthened, but we will continue to work for the proven smog standard of 60 ppb or less.   

“We know that low-income communities and African American and Latino communities bear the burden of weak environmental protections.  The most vulnerable among us will once again pay the price for a smog standard that is still too high. They will continue to suffer asthma attacks, emergency room visits and premature deaths due to excessive air pollution. We must do better.”