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ATS is Joined by the American Medical Association in Supporting the EPA's Proposed Rules to Limit Carbon Emissions from Existing Power Plants

June 11, 2014 -- The American Thoracic Society welcomes today’s action by the American Medical Association House of Delegates reaffirming their support for efforts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants. The resolution adopted by the AMA House of Delegates further noted AMA’s intent to submit formal comments during the public comment period to “to underscore the need to keep the standards strong and protective of public health.”

The action taken by the AMA House of Delegates follows the EPA’s recent proposed “Clean Power Plan” to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants. Announced on June 2, 2014, the EPA proposal outlines a state-federal partnership under which states will develop tailored plans to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants in their states, resulting in a nationwide carbon emissions reduction of 30% (below 2005 levels) from the power sector. EPA projects that actions to reduce carbon pollution would also cut particle pollution, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide by more than 25%.This important effort by the Administration to address global climate change and improve air quality is supported by a number of national public health groups, including the ATS.

“The ATS supports the efforts of President Obama and the EPA to reduce the harmful emissions of carbon pollution from power plants. This new rule is a step in the right direction toward mitigating climate change,” said ATS President Tom Ferkol, MD, who is professor of pediatrics, cell biology, and physiology and director of the multidisciplinary Division of Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonary Medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine. “What often gets lost in the discussion is that reducing carbon emissions also decreases other noxious pollutants like mercury, ozone and particulate matter,” noted Ferkol. Mercury, ozone and particular matter are known pollutants that cause neurological damage, respiratory and cardiovascular disease. “By reducing carbon pollution today, our children will enjoy the benefits of cleaner air while we address a major cause of global warming.”

George D. Thurston, ScD, vice chair of the ATS Environmental Health Policy Committee and professor at NYU Langone Medical Center’s Institute of Environmental Medicine, is available to comment on the new EPA rules. Dr. Thurston can be reached at gdt1@nyu.edu and Dr. Ferkol can be reached at Ferkol_T@kids.wustl.edu.