EPA to reinstate air pollution panel disbanded under Trump
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will reinstate a scientific group that looks at air pollution and was disbanded under the Trump administration, a spokesperson confirmed to The Hill on Monday,
EPA spokesperson Tim Carroll said in an email that the EPA’s Science Advisory Board will issue a call “in the next few weeks” for nominations for the Particulate Matter Review Panel.
Then-EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler disbanded the panel, made up of scientists who are considered experts on particulate matter, in 2018.
It had been tasked with helping the agency to determine a safe level of particulate matter. Long-term exposure to a form of particulate matter has been linked to heart attacks, asthma attacks and premature death.
At the time, critics blasted the move to disband the panel as anti-science.
Monday’s news comes just a few days after the agency announced that it would review the Trump administration’s decision not to tighten air quality standards for particulate matter.
When making the decision to retain the Obama-era standard, Wheeler defended it as “protective of public health.”
But, a policy assessment from agency staff last year found that thousands of lives could be saved if the standard were tightened.
Particulate matter can come from sources such as power plants, industry and automobiles, when pollutants they emit interact with others in the air.