Anti-EPA legislation risks public health

Repealing the Cross State Air Pollution Rule would put Americans at risk.

In yesterdayâÄôs letter to the editor, âÄúMore Mercury Regulations,âÄù Joseph Cronick expressed concern about the impact of mercury emitted from coal-fired power plants on his health and our environment. He is not alone.

Members from the University of MinnesotaâÄôs EcoWatch, MPIRG and Campus Beyond Coal student groups were joined by youth leaders from as far as Crookston to meet with MinnesotaâÄôs U.S. Sens.  Amy KlobucharâÄôs and Al FrankenâÄôs staffs. We asked them how they plan to vote on legislation proposed to weaken the Clean Air Act.

For forty years, the Clean Air Act has given the Environmental Protection Agency authority to set limits on harmful air pollutants. From mercury to lead, the EPA has enforced needed safeguards to ensure basic health and environmental protection from air pollution for all Americans. Now, polluters and their allies in Congress are currently working to weaken Clean Air Act standards.

The most recent attack, the Congressional Review of the Cross State Air Pollution Rule, is part of an alarming trend of anti-EPA legislation. Proposed by Senator Rand Paul, the resolution would roll back public health protections and let polluters continue to dump their toxic pollution into our air. This could lead to as many as 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 heart attacks and 400,000 asthma attacks annually.

In the meetings with our senatorsâÄô staff, we were informed that neither senator has made up their mind on this issue. This is disconcerting, especially considering Klobuchar voted in favor of two separate attempts to weaken the Clean Air Act last spring.

 

The impacts of a repeal to the Cross State Air Pollution rule would be harmful to MinnesotansâÄô health and wallets. It would block Minnesota from receiving between $650 million and $1.6 billion each year in health benefits, and would put thousands of Americans at risk of life-threatening illnesses.

Contact your senators and tell them to take a stand to protect clean air, public health and our futures.