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Clean Power Plan Repeal is Irresponsible in the Face of Scientific Evidence: ATS

Oct. 11, 2017 – New York, NY – “The decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan flies in the face of scientific evidence of the dangers air pollution poses to public health, and we cannot keep silent on this,” said George Thurston, ScD, chair of the ATS Environmental Health Policy Committee.

President Trump’s decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan ignores scientific fact, and places the health and well-being of every American at greater risk.  The science documenting the causes of climate change and the immediate economic and health benefits that will be derived from acting to address the climate crisis are unambiguous.  President Trump’s action today is not just a failure to act, but a conscious decision to make climate change and human health worse by rolling back the initial clean air progress that had already been achieved by the EPA under the Clean Power Plan.

The ATS was one of several medical society partners that filed an amicus brief in support of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan when it was challenged in 2016. The ATS was fully committed then, as it is now, to working with others to reduce dangerous greenhouse gas emissions.

“Climate-related adverse health effects include heat-related illness and death, as well as serious breathing problems resulting from more forest fires, longer pollen seasons and heat-related ozone air pollution,” said Mary Rice, MD, MPH, pulmonologist and vice chair of the ATS Environmental Health Policy Committee. “Our patients, particularly children and the elderly, are facing the consequences of climate change on a daily basis.”

“The actions planned under the Clean Power Plan would provide immediate and local human health benefits due to cleaner air, including lower cardiovascular and respiratory hospital admissions and mortality, as a result of lowering power plant emissions,” added Dr. Thurston.

A 2015 survey of ATS members, which include pulmonary and critical care physicians and scientists, showed that 89 percent acknowledge climate change is currently happening and 65 percent find that climate change is relevant to direct patient care.

“The health and well-being of our patients is at stake,” said ATS President Marc Moss, MD.  “Many lives will be saved if we act now and move forward responsibly by lowering greenhouse gas emissions.