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