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Environmental Justice
Press Statement February 7, 2024

NAACP Applauds Biden Administration's Enhancement of Clean Air Standards

Environmental Justice

February 7, 2024 
Contact: Alicia Mercedes,

NAACP Director of Environmental & Climate Justice: " Make no mistake - access to clean air is a racial justice issue."

WASHINGTON - Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the finalization of a significantly stronger air quality standard that will take pivotal steps to decrease the levels of  fine particle pollution, also known as soot. The new standard announced today will decrease the allowable level of soot from 12 micrograms per cubic meter to 9 micrograms per cubic meter. This updated standard will save lives and prevent thousands of premature deaths, particularly for Black Americans, who are disproportionately impacted by both the short and long-term effects of air pollution.

NAACP Director of Environmental and Climate Justice, Abre' Conner, released the following statement, celebrating today's news:

"We applaud the EPA for the development of stronger standards regarding fine particulate matter, commonly known as soot. Make no mistake - access to clean air is a racial justice issue.  For far too long, poor air quality in Black communities has impacted residents' ability to breathe, causing harmful health impacts, and shortening life-spans. These stronger standards will better align environmental justice goals to ensure that Black communities can live and breathe freely within their communities. The NAACP will continue to push for stronger clean air standards that will allow for Black and other frontline communities to live healthily within their communities." 

Soot is air pollution that creates poor air quality for individuals across the country, including smog. These fine particles are often hard to see, but often end up in people's lungs, blood, and even heart. Black Americans 65 and older are three times more likely to die from soot pollution. In general, soot is deadly to thousands of individuals across the country every single year. Additionally, fossil fuel pollution, which also creates soot, is a common cause of dirty air in Black communities.

To learn more about the NAACP's work to advance Environmental and Climate Justice, visit our website.



The NAACP advocates, agitates, and litigates for the civil rights due to Black America. Our legacy is built on the foundation of grassroots activism by the biggest civil rights pioneers of the 20th century and is sustained by 21st century activists. From classrooms and courtrooms to city halls and Congress, our network of members across the country works to secure the social and political power that will end race-based discrimination. That work is rooted in racial equity, civic engagement, and supportive policies and institutions for all marginalized people. We are committed to a world without racism where Black people enjoy equitable opportunities in thriving communities.

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF - was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but now operates as a completely separate entity.