Public Health Air Quality Act Would Protect Public Health with Better Air Pollution Data for All

EDF statement from Vickie Patton, General Counsel

July 29, 2020
Shira Langer,, (202) 572-3254

(Washington, D.C. – July 29, 2020) Today a bicameral group of Members of Congress introduced the Public Health Air Quality Act of 2020, a bill that would strengthen air pollution monitoring at high-emitting facilities and in vulnerable communities.

“A lack of adequate air pollution monitoring is a direct threat to the millions of people who live with unhealthy air. The Public Health Air Quality Act would expand the number of air pollution monitors at key industrial facilities around the country, as well as make sure that the pollution data gets put to immediate use to protect the health of communities.

“Expanding air pollution monitoring is especially important because high polluting petrochemical facilities and other industrial facilities are more likely to be located in communities of color and low-income communities, and to have disproportionate adverse health impacts on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.  If we hope to build a just, equitable and livable future for all, our communities and policy makers need better access to information that can hold polluters accountable, lead to community-empowered solutions, and end policies that create vulnerabilities.

“It is crucial that all people and communities across our country – with no one left behind or disparately impacted — have information about the air they breathe, especially as we face a global public health crisis that severely magnifies the respiratory risks and urgent health harms for millions afflicted by air pollution. We thank Senator Duckworth, Representative Blunt Rochester, and Congressional Environmental Justice leaders for their leadership in prioritizing the health of our communities at this crucial time.

“We congratulate fence-line and environmental justice groups on the introduction of this important and urgent legislation. We look forward to working to support your vision and leadership in ensuring it, and other urgent legislative priorities to protect communities living near polluting facilities and in areas with unhealthy air quality, become law.

Vickie Patton, General Counsel, Environmental Defense Fund


The Public Health Air Quality Act would require fence-line monitoring at high-polluting facilities and strengthen the existing network of air monitors around the country. It would also require EPA to issue rules for monitoring and then mitigating identified pollution at petrochemical facilities and other sources of harmful air pollution, as well as deploy a network of air sensors in local communities.

EDF is working with academic, community partners, industry and government officials to collect detailed air pollution data and protect communities. Learn more about this work here.

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