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Rep. Barragán Leads Call for EPA to Crack Down on Air Pollution Loopholes


May 4, 2023

Contact: Kevin McGuire, 202-538-2386 (mobile)

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Today, Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44) led 24 Members in a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging the swift closure of startup, shutdown, and malfunction (SSM) loopholes that exist across regulations implementing the Clean Air Act.

The Clean Air Act had several loopholes when it was enacted that allowed industrial facilities, such as refineries and power plants, to emit pollution during a startup, shutdown, or malfunction of the facility. The loopholes allow industrial facilities in communities across the country to emit massive amounts of deadly pollution with no accountability, and often exceed the facilities’ annual emissions caps.  These pollutants – including soot, benzene, ethylene oxide, formaldehyde, acid gases, and cyclohexane – put residents fenceline communities at higher risk for cancer, respiratory ailments, birth defects, and other health risks.

“Industrial facilities in my district and across the country have emitted deadly amounts of pollution into low-income communities and communities of color due to startup, shutdown, and malfunction loopholes,” said Rep. Barragán. “The effects of that pollution are felt acutely in the form of cancers, hospitalizations, high health bills, and lifelong illnesses.  We are calling on Administrator Regan to close these loopholes as quickly as possible to ensure fence line communities across the country can breathe clean air.”

Congresswoman Barragán was joined on the letter by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Greg Casar (TX-35), Yvette Clarke (NY-09), Jasmine Crockett (TX-30), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Robert Garcia (CA-42), Raul Grijalva (AZ-03), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Glenn Ivey (MD-03), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Summer Lee (PA-12), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Jennifer McClellan (VA-04), Jim McGovern (MA-02), Grace Meng (NY-06), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Brittany Pettersen (CO-07), Adam Schiff (CA-30), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), Darren Soto (FL-09), Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), Frederica Wilson (FL-24), and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA).   

The letter is supported by the following organizations: Sierra Club, t.e.j.a.s., Earthjustice, League of Conservation Voters, United Congregations of Metro East, Coalition for a Safe Environment, For a Better Bayou, Fort Ben County Houston Environmental, Texas Campaign for the Environment, Livable Arlington, Environment Texas, Environmental Defense Fund, Air Alliance  Houston, Caring for Pasadena Communities, Vessel Project, Clean Environment Texas, Clean Air & Water for Brazoria, Moms Clean Air Force, Environmental Integrity Project, Revitalization Strategies, and Environment America.   


 Nanette Diaz Barragán is proud to represent California’s 44th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Bellflower, Carson, Harbor City, Harbor Gateway, Lakewood, Long Beach, Lynwood, Paramount, Rancho Dominguez, San Pedro, South Gate, West Carson, and Wilmington. She serves as Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Health, Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Minerals Subcommittees.