Asheville, N.C. (April 7, 2011) – This week, the United States Senate stood up against big polluters and stood for public health by defeating four separate amendments to an unrelated spending bill that were aimed at gutting the Clean Air Act and limiting the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to protect Americans from toxic pollution in our air. In response, Dr. Stephen A. Smith, Executive Director of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy issued the following statement:
“This week, some of our Southeastern Senators voted for measures which would have prevented the EPA from updating clean air standards. Each proposal would have stopped the EPA from doing work already underway to clean up dangerous pollution. They all put more pollution into the air, not less.
“The four votes in the Senate, and another in the House, amount to an all out attack on the highly successful Clean Air Act – passed decades ago with bipartisan and bicameral support – and if one or more had passed would be a wholesale capitulation to the corporate polluters like power companies and the big oil companies seeking to avoid updated standards to limit toxic air pollution.
“Those Senators who supported these amendments essentially cast a vote against clean air, clean water, the health of our children, and the well-being of our seniors and for the special interests in Washington.
“Attacks from Congress to the Clean Air Act would undo years of progress in reducing the harmful toxics in the air which has prevented thousands of heart attacks, asthma attacks, strokes and other illnesses since its inception 40 years ago. Thankfully these provisions all failed and the EPA can continue to keep our air clean and protect the health of our children, seniors and our families.”
Last year alone, the reductions in fine particle and ozone pollution from the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments prevented more than 160,000 early deaths, 130,000 heart attacks, and 1.7 million asthma attacks.A February 2011 poll released by the American Lung Association showed that, 68 percent of voters oppose Congressional action that impedes the EPA from updating clean air standards generally and 64 percent oppose Congressional efforts to stop the EPA from updating standards on carbon dioxide. # # # Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast.www.cleanenergy.org