Rush, Chicagoland Democrats Raise Alarm: Stay-At-Home Orders Reduce Air Pollution Nationwide — Except in Chicago

May 22, 2020
Press Release

CHICAGO — Today, U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (IL-01), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy, joined by Reps. Danny Davis (IL-07), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Bill Foster (IL-11), Robin Kelly (IL-02), Brad Schneider (IL-10), Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), and Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García, issued the following statement in response to recent reports showing consistent levels of air pollution in the Chicago, Illinois, region, while air pollution levels continue to decrease nationwide in light of various stay-at-home orders:

“Widespread shutdowns and stay-at-home orders have resulted in cleaner air throughout our nation’s most polluted cities.  However, recent reports have shown that air pollution in and around Chicago remain relatively high.

“This is especially alarming given the various studies that link air pollution to COVID-19 and the disproportionate impacts both these factors have on the health of minority and low-income communities.  To make matters worse, this administration has continued to weaken its own EPA’s ability to combat air pollution — at the federal and regional level — by shrinking budgets, reducing staff levels, rolling back regulations, and hindering enforcement efforts.

“If we are to combat a deadly disease which preys on weakened respiratory systems, we must do everything we can to ensure we appropriately mitigate factors that pollute the air we breathe.  We therefore urge Congressional leadership to support economic recovery packages that bolster our clean energy economy, zero emissions technologies, and the widespread electrification of our economic sectors to provide our communities with improved air quality and relief from industrial pollution.  Further, we demand this administration’s prompt intervention to protect the public health and improve air quality within our communities by properly enforcing clean air regulations. 

“Failure to do so will result in both short term and long-term consequences for the residents of our districts, particularly minority and low-income communities who are already bearing the brunt of such pollution. We must act now.”