(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) today joined Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) and 82 House Democrats in calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure that minority and low-income communities have equal access to vital clean air protections. 

Rep. Rush’s call to action comes amid recent reports and studies showing that minority, and low-income communities are dying at disproportionate rates from COVID-19 and that COVID-19 patients who live in areas with high air pollution have a greater likelihood of dying from the illness.  It is also well documented that minority and low-income communities are disproportionately exposed to higher concentrations of air pollution.

“The EPA’s sole mission is to protect human and environmental health. Yet, this Administration has been more preoccupied with protecting the financial health and wealth of polluter and profiteers,” said Rep. Rush.  “This behavior is especially abhorrent considering the countless Americans who are literally fighting for their lives against an illness with a lethality linked to poor air quality – this is especially true for minority and low-income communities.

“Recent studies show the clear relationship between long-term air pollution exposure and the deadliness of COVID-19.  This is especially alarming for the black community, who is already dying from this dreaded disease at much higher rates when compared to other groups.  This is unacceptable, but what’s more unacceptable is EPA’s actions when faced with this grim reality.

“Under this Administration, the agency tasked with protecting us from environmental harms is on an unrelenting path to dismantle clean air regulations. The consequence of these actions is to the detriment of air quality generally and the vitality of our communities — particularly low-income and minority communities.

“As we recognize the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we must acknowledge these glaring environmental injustices and call on the EPA to protect all Americans from the consequences of unregulated pollution.  I am thankful to all of my Congressional Colleagues who joined this effort and are committed to fighting for equal access to vital clean air protections.”

A copy of the letter to EPA can be found here.