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Congressman Sires and Payne, Jr. Lead Letter to EPA Urging Additional Federal Action to Address Air Pollution Near Ports

Jun 22, 2016
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.)- Congressman Sires and Congressman Payne, Jr. sent a letter signed by 14 additional Members of Congress to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy urging greater federal attention to address poor air quality issues caused by air pollution from ports and other components of the freight transportation system. Vulnerable communities concentrated in the vicinity of ports and congested freight infrastructure are exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution. This results in an increased risk for cancer, missed school days, and more hospital visits for the 13 million people, including 3.5 million children, who make up these communities.

“New Jersey is home to some of the most congested components of the transportation network, and the demand for freight transportation continues to grow. By 2040, freight tonnage is expected to increase by 45 percent,” said Congressman Sires. “It is unfair that these communities that tend to be low-income and minority are forced to live with disproportionately unsafe air pollution. It is critical that we act now to prevent even more devastating health issues as freight transportation grows.”

“I am deeply concerned about the adverse effects of poor air quality on my constituents who live near ports and freight networks,” said Congressman Payne, Jr. “Low-income and minority communities are disproportionately impacted by high levels of pollution from ports in New Jersey. Exposure to port pollution puts residents, especially children, in danger. There is an urgent need for more aggressive action to reduce emissions. Doing so will reduce threats to our environment, and, most importantly, it will save lives.”

The letter urged Administrator McCarthy to consider actions to reduce air pollution by developing standards to limit pollution to safe levels, assist state and local governments to address freight-generated pollution through Clean Air Act state implementation plans, and engage communities affected by freight pollution to give them a greater voice in emissions reductions goals and actions.

A pdf copy of the letter can be viewed here