Since 1970, the Clean Air Act has been the EPA's most effective tool for combating air pollution. When it was first enacted, the Clean Air Act only covered five pollutants. But over the last 40 years it has been amended to protect the public from dozens of additional dangerous pollutants.
But air pollution doesn't stop at state lines, and as a result people throughout the country are forced to breathe unhealthy air. EPA's proposed Good Neighbor Rule will help states be good neighbors by reducing air pollution escaping across state lines. It will also produce at least $100 billion, and possibly up to $290 billion in public health savings.
By any objective measure, the Clean Air Act has been a tremendous success. The air is cleaner, public health has improved, and it has been hugely cost-effective. Successful efforts in the 1990s to clean up acid rain under Clean Air Act provisions are now widely viewed as proof that environmental protections need not compete with economic well-being.
But now polluting industries and their congressional allies are resisting common-sense safeguards being put forward by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to protect public health-safeguards that seek to make public welfare the agency's top priority after eight years of Bush administration backsliding and inaction. These safeguards include:
- The Good Neighbor Rule, which could help avoid at least 23,000 heart attacks, 26,000 hospital visits, 240,000 asthma attacks, and 36,000 premature deaths from polluted air each year.
- The smog, or ozone, rule, which could prevent more than 5,000 heart attacks and up to 12,000 premature deaths annually.
- The coal ash rule, which could keep known carcinogens from toxic coal leftovers out of our water.
- The Clean Air Act, which has a 40-year track record of cleaning up pollution that harms public welfare.
Sadly, earlier this month the House of Representatives' GOP caucus issued a statement that shamelessly parrots the oil and coal lobbies' entreaties to avoid cleaning up their act, despite the known health problems their industries cause and the new job opportunities offered by investment in clean energy.
The coal industry is pulling out all the stops to fight the Good Neighbor Rule, putting their profits before the $100 to $290 billion we would save in public health costs. Now is the time to stop Big Coal from interfering with the EPA's ability to do its job under the Clean Air Act and protect our health.
Help give EPA Administrator Jackson the support she needs to finalize a strong rule. Send a message to the EPA during the agency's comment period, applauding its efforts to reduce air pollution from dirty power plants through the Good Neighbor Rule. EPA's comment period on the rule ends October 1.
Read more about the Clean Air Act:
Controversial Pro-Clean Air Act Ad Shows Babies Smoking (Video)
How Obama & EPA Could Use Clean Air Act to Enact Cap-and-Trade Without Congress
US Chamber of Commerce to Fight EPA on Clean Air Act CO2 Regulation