Photo by John Picken /
Air pollution from smoke stacks

The National Wildlife Federation was one of several groups testifing yesterday in support of the Environmental Protection Agency taking reasonable action to reduce carbon pollution.

The “listening session” is one of several being held around the nation to gather input as the EPA prepares to rein in carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and petroleum refineries under the Clean Air Act.

Yesterday’s session focused on input from environmental and environmental justice organizations, but the EPA plans on holding three more of these sessions:

  • February 17th (Chicago, IL) – State and Tribal Representatives
  • February 23rd (Washington, DC) – Coalition Group Representatives
  • March 4th (Washington, DC) – Petroleum Refinery Industry Representatives

John Hammond, NWF’s Southeast Regional Executive Director based in Atlanta, said the following:

“Today’s listening session occurs in the midst of a congressional sneak attack on the environment through a budget bill.  Polluters are trying to use the deficit to mount a reckless and irresponsible attack on the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act that endangers the air we breathe, the water we drink and the wildlife and lands we cherish.

We must reject the notion that our kids must breathe polluted air, drink toxic water, or eat contaminated fish in order for our economy to prosper.

Carbon dioxide poses serious threats to Americans’ health, our economy, our wildlife, and our future, yet there are currently no limits on the amount of carbon pollution.

A recent study by the EPA found that heat-related deaths nationwide could jump by 3,500 to 27,000 by midcentury if carbon pollution is not reined in. Asthmatics and others with existing cardiovascular disease are especially at risk. Just last month, the federal government reported an uptick in asthma rates across the nation.  Asthma rates are higher for women and communities of color, especially African Americans and Puerto Ricans. With climate change heating our air, urban areas in the South already prone to bad air quality are becoming especially vulnerable.

Now is the time for EPA to get serious about reining in carbon pollution that cleans up our air and secures a better environment for future generations.”

It is time to speak up and make our voices heard for this important action on behalf of our clean air and water. Visit the Listening Sessions on Greenhouse Gas Standards website for more details.