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Congress is trying to gut the Clean Air Act

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The U.S. Senate has introduced legislation that would worsen the quality of the air we all breathe. In what should be called the “Smoggy Skies Act,” the bill would permanently weaken the Clean Air Act and delay important anti-smog protections that took more than a decade to achieve. This legislation recently passed the House, and now it is up to the Senate to stop this attack on clean air.

In 2015, a new health-based smog standard was finalized that limits the amount of ozone pollution in the air we breathe. Despite the tremendous progress our nation has made in cleaning up dirty air, approximately 125 million Americans still live in areas with dangerous levels of air pollution. When implemented, the new smog standard is expected to save hundreds of lives every year, as well as prevent hundreds of thousands of asthma attacks in kids and avoid more than 150,000 missed days of school.

Big Oil and its allies in Congress and the White House are working to undo gains to reduce ozone pollution and improve the health of millions of people forced to breathe dangerous air. Worse still, they’re trying to gut the underlying Clean Air Act by changing the way the EPA sets health standards, injecting politics into the process and delaying setting new health protections that respond to scientific advances.

Securing the stronger 2015 ozone protections was no easy task. It took years of Earthjustice litigation, over 500,000 concerned residents sending in their comments, and people speaking out at numerous public hearings. Youth, nurses, teachers, health professionals and hundreds of people who live in areas with dirty air showed up at hearings in Sacramento, California, and Houston, Texas, to tell their personal stories of friends and family members struggling to breathe. Some of you even traveled to Washington, D.C., to represent your communities.

Now all that hard work—and the future of the Clean Air Act—is at risk. Don’t let Congress get away with weakening one our most successful environmental laws. Tell your senator to vote NO on S.263!

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A Mom’s Battle Against Ozone


Please oppose S.263

Dear Senator,

I strongly urge you to vote NO on S.263, the so-called Ozone Standards Implementation Act. This bill would more accurately be called the "Smoggy Skies Act," because that would be the real result if it were passed--more smog-choked skies and dirty air.

Under the guise of implementing the stronger 2015 ozone standard, this legislation would actually delay implementation by eight years. This delay means Americans everywhere will be needlessly exposed to dangerous air pollution. Exposure to ozone pollution, or smog, causes asthma attacks, exacerbates breathing ailments like COPD and bronchitis, and can even be deadly.

Worse still, this bill guts underlying provisions of the Clean Air Act that have worked for decades to clear our air. S.263 would double the EPA's review window when they're supposed to consider new science and update the standard as needed, from every 5 to every 10 years. It would override a unanimous Supreme Court decision written by the late Justice Scalia explaining that the Clean Air Act clearly requires standards to be set solely on what is safe for human exposure, not cost or feasibility. Instead, the bill would inject politics into the process by allowing cost and technology considerations in establishing what should be strictly a health-based standard.

Can you imagine if your doctor would only give you a diagnosis if you could demonstrate you had the ability to pay for treatment?

Clean air is a human right, and Americans everywhere, regardless of their zip code, deserve an EPA and Congress working to clean up air pollution, not roll back the clock on our collective progress.

S.263 is an affront to public health and a step in the wrong direction. I hope I can count on your opposition to this misguided and irresponsible bill.

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