We are working to protect our communities against harmful EPA rollbacks

To Senator Duckworth, Senator Durbin,

I want to applaud you both on the proactive efforts you’ve taken to combat the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement in ceasing to prioritize the health of people over polluters. As a concerned person of faith and conscience, I am writing to urge you to continue to push back against this federal policy, which will undoubtedly result in higher rates of air and water pollutants and therefore negatively impact the health of your constituents.

Our desire and responsibility as a faith community is to protect people and protect the earth we all inhabit. The EPA’s mission is “to protect human health and the environment,” and as person of faith and integrity, I want to ensure that the EPA is held accountable to its mission.

I’m concerned with EPA’s recent announcement to suspend environmental regulation enforcement and the effects that will have on communities, especially now during the coronavirus health crisis. Not only does the announcement blatantly go against the EPA’s mission and display a lack of accountability to the people it claims to serve, but will disproportionately affect low-income and communities of color who have historically lived in areas with higher rates of pollution. The amount of air pollutants is directly connected with industries in those communities and is also linked to chronic respiratory illnesses such as asthma, which makes these communities at a higher risk for experiencing more severe COVID-19 outcomes.

I urge you to continue to push for accountability and transparency from the EPA in order to protect these communities by having the EPA:

-Commit to a specific deadline to end its temporary policy

-Require a written public disclosure from companies when they cease to monitor or report air and water pollution emissions

-Require a written justification from companies as to why they stopped monitoring or reporting their air and water pollution emissions

-Notify the public through publishing the information within a day of a company filing