New EPA emissions standards under fire

Updated: Jun. 25, 2019 at 8:15 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Trump Administration’s proposed roll back of EPA auto emissions standards has a growing chorus of critics.

The standards would roll back the Obama era standards meant to lower auto emissions to reduce carbon pollution, which has been linked to climate change.

Limiting auto emissions is considered the most effective way to reduce carbon pollution.

That pollution causes serious problems for people with respiratory illness, especially asthma sufferers like Beverly Thompson, who developed asthma when she moved to Tucson 26 years ago.

“We came from Germany and we came into a whole new world," she said. “We came into the wild, wild west.”

That wild west caused her breathing problems from day one.

“As soon as I leave the state, go out of state, fly out for a while, as soon as I get off the plane I can feel it," she said. “I start the old cough again.”

People with respiratory illnesses also find their conditions worsened when the air pollution, especially ozone, goes up.

“It’s very hard on the respiratory system and it’s also been proven to increase cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Thomas Friedman, an allergist in Oro Valley. “We have good data that high pollution causes heart attacks as well as breathing difficulties.”

That’s why Tucson’s mayor is among those calling on the Arizona Congressional delegation to oppose the new standards.

“There are many reasons to oppose this rollback,” he said. “Environmental, health, economic.”

Richard Elias, District 5 County Supervisor is also calling for opposition because of the 17,000 children and 79,000 adults who live with asthma in Pima County.

“They will have a shorter life,” he said. “They will have more problems living comfortably with the changes that are proposed.”

14 states have said they will continue to enforce the old rules even if they get rolled back, California being the first and largest.

Tucson nor Pima County has that option. The most they can do is urge a slowdown by members of Congress.

Copyright 2019 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.