Schneider Secures Funding for Ethylene Oxide Monitoring in House Appropriations Bill

May 23, 2019
Press Release
Bill increases EPA compliance funding used for ambient air monitoring of ethylene oxide

Today, Congressman Brad Schneider (D-IL) announced the House Appropriations Committee included funding for ambient air monitoring of Ethylene Oxide (EtO) during its mark-up of the appropriations bill for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The $5.6 million increase for EPA’s compliance monitoring program would support EPA air monitoring for communities identified by the National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) as facing high levels of EtO emissions, including those in Lake County.

 

In addition to the increased funding for the compliance monitoring account at EPA, the legislation includes language urging EPA to conduct ambient air monitoring in communities like Lake County that the NATA identified as facing high EtO levels, in coordination with state and local public health departments and other federal agencies.

 

The inclusion of this language follows a letter sent to House appropriators by Schneider in April 2019 requesting the funding for ambient air monitoring. Schneider was joined on the letter by fellow Illinois congressional delegation members Reps. Sean Casten, Daniel Lipinski, Bill Foster, Mike Quigley, and Lauren Underwood.

 

Since reporting Lake County communities face high EtO emissions, the EPA has refused to conduct ambient air monitoring that would provide the community with critical public health information about the air they breathe. EPA’s ambient air monitoring in Willowbrook, IL played a central role in the Illinois state government’s decision to shutter the Sterigenics facility that used EtO. In the absence of EPA leadership, communities in Lake County have begun coordinating requests for proposals to conduct their own EtO air monitoring.

 

“Our communities urgently need ambient air monitoring to fully understand the local risks of ethylene oxide and determine what next steps are needed to protect the safety of our air,” said Schneider. “I am pleased that the House Appropriations Committee listened to our request and allocated funding toward ambient air monitoring. Unfortunately, the EPA continues to inexplicably drag its feet on ambient air monitoring in Lake County, and in response to this abdication of leadership, our local communities have chosen to shoulder the cost and begin testing on their own. I hope to work with our Senate partners to include this funding provision in the Senate bill, and ultimately signed into law to help affected communities undertake this critical testing.”