American Lung Association Applauds Carbon Pollution Standards

Statement of American Lung Association of the Northeast President & CEO Jeff Seyler

(September 20, 2013)

The American Lung Association of the Northeast issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) just-released proposal to establish the first national power plant carbon pollution standards:

“We are very pleased to see carbon pollution standards moving forward. Today’s announcement by the EPA is an important step towards improving air quality and public health. Power plant pollution makes people sick, and in some cases it can kill.

It makes no sense to allow power plants to spew unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the air. The buildup of carbon pollution creates warmer temperatures which then create more ozone – also called smog.  More smog means more childhood asthma attacks and more complications for people with lung or heart disease. It’s a deadly cycle. We need to remedy the pollution problem at the smokestack where it begins, rather than treating people after the fact in the emergency room.

Reducing ozone pollution is especially important here in the Northeast. According to the State of the Air 2013 report, 42% of Americans live in areas where bad air can make them sick, trigger asthma attacks and lead to premature deaths. Climate change is expected to make it even harder to reduce ozone. That’s bad news for everyone, but especially here in the Northeast, where we have some of the highest asthma rates in the nation. Our downwind location means we are constantly breathing toxic air pollution that comes from outside our borders. Enforcing existing clean air protections, such as the Power Plant Mercury and Air Toxic Standards, along with implementing carbon pollution standards for new and existing sources will dramatically improve public health.

By proposing standards for carbon pollution from plants that will be built in the future, the EPA is setting the stage for the next generation of America’s power plants to be the least toxic and most modern in the world.  And that’s good for all of us.

We support the EPA’s carbon pollution standards and will encourage the public to weigh in during the comment period. We urge the EPA to set a final standard within a year and to additionally get to work on establishing a standard for existing carbon pollution sources. Anything less shortchanges our children and our health.”