American Lung Association Strongly Supports Capps Amendment

Statement of Paul G. Billings, Vice President, National Policy & Advocacy

Washington, D.C. (August 3, 2011)

Good morning and thank you. I am Paul Billings, Vice President National Policy and Advocacy for the American Lung Association. Today is a CODE ORANGE day for high levels of ozone. This means that the air is officially unhealthy for sensitive groups. Who is a sensitive group? Our children, seniors, and people with chronic disease like asthma and heart disease. It is also almost 100 degrees. For these reasons, I’ll be brief.

“The American Lung Association is pleased to stand with these distinguished Members of Congress to say no to anti-public health special interest riders in the EPA Appropriations bill. We strongly support the Capps Amendment to strike the indefinite delay of the cleanup of mercury, arsenic, chromium and other toxic air pollutants from power plants. This cleanup was promised by Congress more than 20 years ago. These standards are long overdue. The public strongly supports the standards – we know because we have conducted the polls that show nearly 80 percent of likely voters support stricter limits on mercury.

“Why? Quite simply, the public understands that toxic pollution like mercury damages the eyes, skin, and breathing passages; harms the kidneys, lungs, and nervous system; causes cancer; impairs brain development, neurological function, and the ability to learn; causes cardiovascular disease, and can even kill. 

“The public understands that air pollution harms health. What they don’t know is that some in Congress—through this reckless EPA appropriation bill—are trying to obliterate the Clean Air Act and its public health protections. The American Lung Association is grateful that there are others in Congress who are with us in the fight for air.

“I’ve brought our red carriage with me today. The red carriage is here to remind all Members of Congress that the Clean Air Act protects all of us from air pollution. Today, we launched our television ad campaign that features this red carriage.  This effort is part of the Lung Association’s Healthy Air Campaign to preserve the EPA’s authority to implement and enforce this forty-year-old, landmark public health law.  The provocative new ad focuses on the devastating effects of air pollution and its impact on the health of children. The ad questions why some in Congress are rushing to protect the interests of big corporate polluters while in the process ignoring the impacts on our health …especially our children’s health. Check out our ad on LUNGUSA.ORG

“Thank you and thanks to the Members of Congress here today for standing up for kids.”

###

About the American Lung Association
Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is “Fighting for Air” through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lung.org.