Washington, D.C., April 6, 2011— The American Public Health Association urges Congress to block efforts to weaken the Clean Air Act by limiting the ability of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the leading cause of climate change. Both House and Senate are expected to take up the issue today.
“Climate change poses enormous health threats,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), executive director of the American Public Health Association. “With today’s vote, members of the House and Senate must recognize the enormity of the threats and the overwhelming evidence behind them. Congress needs to let EPA do its job and safeguard the public’s health.”
In response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, EPA issued its endangerment finding that grants the agency authority under the Clean Air Act to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions from sources such as automobiles, power plants and factories.
“Climate–related health risks such as extreme weather events, increases in air pollutants linked to asthma and other respiratory diseases, and changes in vector-borne disease threaten us all,” said Benjamin. “But the elderly, sick and other vulnerable populations are at greatest risk. Upholding the Clean Air Act and the sensible protections that safeguard Americans and their families is critical. Congress must reject efforts that would do otherwise.”