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Organizations urge Congress to uphold Clean Air Act

April 4, 2011

Organizations Urge Congress to Uphold the Clean Air Act
Health, Consumer and Business groups to Congress: This is a matter of life or death for tens of thousands of Americans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A coalition of nearly 500 organizations concerned about congressional proposals to weaken the Clean Air Act sent a letter today urging Congress to uphold the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to protect Americans from toxic air pollution.
“For too long, the nation’s worst corporate polluters have exposed Americans to toxic, harmful and life-threatening air pollution,” said Charles D. Connor, president and CEO of the American Lung Association. “Public health and medical professionals are concerned that their patients can no longer wait to be protected from the consequences of air pollution such as premature death, asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes. EPA standards provide the protections patients need and it’s wrong for politicians to interfere with standards that safeguard Americans’ lives.”
In 2010, the Clean Air Act prevented 160,000 premature deaths; 1.7 million instances of asthma exacerbation; 54,000 cases of chronic bronchitis; as well as 41,000 respiratory and 45,000 cardiovascular hospital admissions. It is estimated that if today’s EPA standards are diminished by amendments like these introduced in the Senate, 230,000 Americans will die prematurely in 2020 due to toxic air pollution.
“For forty years the Clean Air Act has bolstered the US economy by providing thousands of jobs while fostering innovation and new technologies. Consistent federal clean air rules provide the long term certainty that allow businesses to plan, invest and thrive,” said Mindy S. Lubber, president of Ceres.
“Undermining the Clean Air Act will unfairly burden consumers,” said Shannon Baker-Branstetter, Policy Counsel for Consumers Union. “Curbing pollution will keep us healthier, and increased energy efficiency will save us money. Hindering EPA’s ability to move forward in these areas is a giant step backward.”
The letter, signed by prominent U.S. health and other clean air organizations advises members of Congress to let the EPA fulfill its duty to monitor emissions to protect public health. Specifically, the letter states, “we urge you to fully support the EPA in fulfilling this responsibility. Doing so is quite literally a matter of life and death for tens of thousands of people and will mean the difference between chronic debilitating illness or a healthy life for hundreds of thousands more.”
Contact: David Butler, 202-462-6262