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For Immediate Release
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President Obama's Climate Action Plan offers strong, common-sense public health protections

Statement from Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association

Washington, D.C., June 25, 2013 – “ The American Public Health Association applauds President Barack Obama for redoubling his commitment to protecting the public’s health from the enormous threats of climate change, as detailed in the administration’s common-sense Climate Action Plan released today.

“Climate change is one of the greatest public health challenges we face, exposing Americans to conditions and extreme weather events that result in premature illness and death due to respiratory ailments, heat-related stress and insect-borne diseases. It threatens our nation’s water and food supplies. Low-income, elderly, minority and marginalized communities are at greatest risk. 

“The president’s plan embraces the need for action and sets the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants, the nation’s single largest source of carbon pollution. Implementing new power plant rules could prevent countless premature deaths, heart attacks and cases of chronic bronchitis, reduce co-pollutants and slow hospital utilization rates that contribute to rising health care costs. Just as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency safeguards our health from mercury, arsenic and lead, EPA can protect our health from dangerous carbon pollution.

“And because implementing these critically needed standards could mean the difference between a long, healthy life or debilitating, expensive chronic illness for hundreds of thousands of American children and adults, it is important that EPA be granted full authority to move forward with its important work to safeguard public health as it is designated to do under the Clean Air Act.

“To ensure this, the EPA needs strong, proven leadership, and we’re counting on Congress to confirm Gina McCarthy as the new administrator without delay. McCarthy has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to protecting and strengthening the public’s health and deserves our nation’s support.

“Today’s release offers a significant boost to our efforts to address this enormous public health issue.  We will continue to work with the administration and Congress to ensure the plan translates to real, meaningful action that will benefit U.S. families now and in generations to come.”

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Founded in 1872, the APHA is the oldest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world. The association aims to protect all Americans and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States. APHA represents a broad array of health providers, educators, environmentalists, policy-makers and health officials at all levels working both within and outside governmental organizations and educational institutions. More information is available at