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ADVANCE Perspective: Respiratory Views

ATS Blasts Proposed Legislation Allowing Unlimited Carbon Pollution

Published March 7, 2011 12:09 PM by Valerie Newitt

American Thoracic Society President Dean E. Schraufnagel, MD, expressed opposition to legislation introduced Friday by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) to prohibit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from issuing rules on carbon pollution and other greenhouse gases, according to a Newswise news release

"The Clean Air Act is one of the best public health success stories of the past four decades and has saved thousands of American lives," said Dr. Schraufnagel, professor of medicine and pathology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "In 2010 alone, the air quality improvements under the Clean Air Act will prevent 160,000 premature deaths, 130,000 heart attacks, 1.7 million asthma attacks and 3.2 million missed school days. Any effort to revise the Clean Air Act should be carefully considered and focused on enhancing the public health benefits - not on granting big polluters a free pass to increase the amount of carbon pollution they pump into the air."

The proposed legislation would prevent the EPA from issuing any rules of limiting carbon pollution or public reporting of carbon emissions emitted by major industrial sources.

"The legislation introduced today essentially overturns the U.S. Supreme Court - and bars the EPA from taking any action on climate change," said Dr. Schraufnagel. "It runs counter to the U.S. Supreme Court, undermines protection of the nation's clean air and leaves the United States vulnerable to the adverse health effects of climate change."

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