American Lung Association of the Northeast Testifies In Favor of New Carbon Pollution Standards

(November 5, 2013)

The American Lung Association of the Northeast testified in favor of adopting carbon pollution standards for both  new and  existing U.S. power plants at a listening hearing held by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Boston.  Earlier this year, the Lung Association’s National President & CEO was on hand when it was first announced by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy that the Administration planned to pursue carbon pollution standards for plants yet to be built.

EPA listening sessions
Jeff Seyler, American Lung Association of the Northeast President & CEO, speaks to EPA

Carbon pollution contributes to rising temperatures that create the elevated ozone levels that make people sick. While the Lung Association supports the proposed standards that limit carbon pollution from new power plants, we are also advocating for controls on existing plants that are currently releasing carbon into the environment and threatening lung health across the Northeast.

The Lung Association noted in its remarks to EPA that while the Northeast has  made progress in reducing pollution with programs like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), there are no programs to control emissions that come from the rest of the country. The Lung Association stressed that air currents carry air pollution from plants, located south and west, which dump dirty air into Northeast states.

“This secondhand smog we’re experiencing has made us the tailpipe of the nation and we are depending on EPA to take action at the federal level to protect our ability to breathe clean, healthy air,” said Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “Our State of the Air 2013 report showed that nearly one half of the population in New England where there is air monitoring lives in communities with failing or near failing ozone pollution levels. That’s not good enough.”  

Seyler noted that existing power plants are the single largest source of carbon pollution creating 38% of the carbon pollution in our country. Air pollution can be a trigger for asthma and exacerbate other chronic lung conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer; it is also now classified as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization (WHO).