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EPA Chief Andrew Wheeler: Air Quality Improving, Economy Booming

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 11: Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler speaks to staff at the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters on July 11, 2018 in Washington, DC. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Wheeler will replace Scott Pruitt who resigned last week. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Acting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler cheered the agency’s annual air quality report during a press conference on Tuesday, which showed that pollution has dramatically decreased while the American economy has boomed.

Wheeler said in a statement on Tuesday:

Through federal and state implementation of the Clean Air Act and technological advances in the private sector, America has achieved one of the great public-private successes of our time – dramatically improving air quality and public health while simultaneously growing the nation’s population and economy.

The economy grew by 4.1 percent during the second quarter of 2018. President Donald Trump said he was “thrilled” by the results.

“This report details a remarkable achievement that should be recognized, celebrated, and replicated around the world. A 73 percent reduction in any other social ill, such as crime, disease, or drug addiction, would lead the evening news,” Wheeler added.

The EPA’s most recent report emphasizes that between 1970 and 2017, the combined emissions if six harmful pollutants have dropped by 73 percent, while at the same time, the American economy grew by more than three times. More recently, between 1990 and 2017, common pollutants have decreased across the nation by:

  • Sulfur dioxide, 88 percent
  • Lead, 80 percent
  • Carbon monoxide, 77 percent
  • Nitrogen dioxide, 56 percent
  • Fine particulate matter, 40 percent
  • Coarse Particulate Matter, 34 percent
  • Ground-level ozone, 22 percent

“When President Trump called me four weeks ago to assume the duties of acting administrator, he asked me to continue to clean up the air, clean up the water, and continue deregulation to spur economic growth,” Wheeler said. “The president knows we can do all three, we at EPA know that we can do all three, and the data from our release today shows that we can do all three.”

EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Bill Wehrum said, “We are continuing toward that progress while moving toward a system of regulatory certainty  that will protect public health and allow businesses to continue to grow.”

Read the EPA air quality report here.

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