Letter to Obama: Clean Air Act Must be Defended

The Clean Air Act is getting attacked by leading polluters and some members of Congress. Over a couple dozen scientific, environmental, and progressive organizations told Obama in a letter sent to him on Friday that he needs to make sure to stand up for this critical piece of U.S. legislation. Here’s the letter:

Dear Mr. President,

We are writing to you about the Clean Air Act, a remarkably successful public health law that has saved hundreds of thousands of lives over the last 40 years while our economy has tripled in size.  Our organizations cannot overstate the priority we put on preventing efforts to block, weaken or delay implementation of this vital law, which at every stage in its history has garnered overwhelming bipartisan support.  We urge you to use your upcoming State of the Union address to underscore the critical need for the Clean Air Act’s sensible safeguards and to oppose any attempt to block, weaken, or delay its continued implementation.

As you know, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun to roll out long-overdue safeguards to reduce carbon, mercury, and other life-threatening pollution from big sources that have been allowed to dump unlimited amounts of pollution into our air for far too long. These clean air safeguards will save tens of thousands more lives, prevent millions of illnesses, and reduce health care costs, while spurring innovation and job growth.  Their health benefits will vastly outweigh their costs.

Unfortunately, the nation’s biggest polluters and some members of Congress have launched an unprecedented attack on the Clean Air Act.  Your recent Wall Street Journal op-ed emphasized your administration’s achievements under the Clean Air Act.  In order to build on those achievements, the EPA must retain its authority to hold polluters accountable and continue moving forward to implement all of these much-needed safeguards.

You have demonstrated a strong commitment to protecting public health and bringing about a clean energy economy throughout your presidency.  Your upcoming State of the Union address offers a perfect opportunity to renew that commitment by making clear that you will continue to stand with the public — not polluters — and do everything in your power to ensure that the EPA retains the authority and the resources to take the life-saving actions necessary to protect the air we breathe and the water we drink.


Liz Butler, Campaign Director, 1Sky

Rebecca Wodder, President, American Rivers

John D. Podesta, President and CEO, Center for American Progress

John Kassel, President, Conservation Law Foundation

Bob Wendelgass, President and CEO, Clean Water Action

Rodger Schlickeisen, President and CEO, Defenders of Wildlife

Trip Van Noppen, President, Earthjustice

Margie Alt, Executive Director, Environment America

Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund

Erich Pica, President, Friends of the Earth

Phil Radford, Executive Director, Greenpeace

Gene Karpinski, President, League of Conservation Voters

David Yarnold, President and CEO, National Audubon Society

Thomas C. Kiernan, President, National Parks Conservation Association

Larry Schweiger, President and CEO, National Wildlife Federation

Frances Beinecke, President, Natural Resources Defense Council

Andrew Sharpless, Chief Executive Officer, Oceana

Joshua Reichert, Managing Director, Pew Environment Group

Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club

William Meadows, President, The Wilderness Society

Kevin Knobloch, President, Union of Concerned Scientists

Peter Bahouth, Executive Director, U.S. Climate Action Network

Carter Roberts, President and CEO, World Wildlife Fund

Image Credit: ~C4Chaos

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