The House GOP Conference today issued a statement that shamelessly echoes the oil and coal lobbies’ endless efforts to avoid cleaning up their acts despite the known health problems their dirty industries cause and the new job opportunities offered by investment in clean energy. Hiding behind false claims and scare tactics, these industries are fighting to preserve their bottom line, despite thousands of lives that could be lost as a result of continued inaction.
The industry and their congressional allies are resisting a suite of common-sense safeguards being put forward by Lisa Jackson and the Environmental Protection Agency to protect public health by reducing harmful air and water pollution. After 8 years of Bush Administration backsliding and inaction, the safeguards seek to put public welfare back on top of the priority list. Among those safeguards are efforts such as:
– The Good Neighbor rule, which could help avoid 36,000 premature deaths from dirty air;
– The smog, or ozone, rule, which could prevent more than 5,000 heart attacks and up to 12,000 early deaths;
– The coal ash rule, which could keep known carcinogens from toxic coal leftovers out of our water.
In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune issued the following statement.
“We’re talking about using science to prevent premature deaths, heart attacks, asthma and cancer. These dirty industries are asking for nothing less than a license to kill. People who care about jobs should also care about the health and safety of those workers and their families.
“There’s nothing radical about wanting fewer sick days, fewer asthma attacks and fewer trips to the emergency room. For too long big polluters have gotten away with boosting their profits at the cost of public health. Millions of people are currently breathing air that doesn’t meet even basic clean air standards. Others have to drink bottled water because their wells have been contaminated by toxic coal waste that was carelessly dumped without thought for safety precautions.
“EPA’s push to improve public health is long overdue and much needed. Polluters and their allies in Congress shouldn’t tell the public they have to choose between jobs and clean air and water. These safeguards don’t mean fewer jobs, they mean more jobs in cleaner industries.”
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