The US Environmental Protection Agency is seeking to update the Clean Air Act and a stronghold of lawmakers aren’t happy about it; they’ve introduced a series of legislative bills that could permanently prohibit the EPA from regulating pollution sources in the United States. In 1990 the EPA was given full permission to regulate pollution from all sources in the United States and with that permission they’ve recently introduced carbon permitting rules that some states, like Texas, aren’t happy about. Coming off the heels of studies about the negative links between pollution sources and how they affect lung development and cancer rates in nearby communities — and not to mention climate change — you’d think that lawmakers would be attempting to protect their constituents. Could the attitudes of the lawmakers trying to stop the bill have something to do with the $27 million+ in campaign donations they’ve received collectively from the polluters they are seeking to help?
The congressional members seeking to block the EPA hail from 35 states across the country. Their legislation however is not so varied – it all focuses on the EPA’s ability to regulate harmful emissions from big polluters around the nation. Representative Marsha Blackburn, of Tennessee introduced a bill (H.R. 97) that would permanently block the EPA from limiting carbon pollution, Representative Shelley Moore Capito, of Virginia, introduced a bill (H.R. 199) that would block the EPA from taking any action under the Clean Air Act to limit carbon and methane pollution, for two years, Representative Ted Poe, of Texas, introduced a bill (H.R. 153) that would prohibit the EPA from developing or enforcing standards to limit carbon pollution, and Representative John Carter, of Texas, has a introduced a resolution (H.J. RES. 9) that would permanently block the EPA from reducing the soot, mercury, cancer-causing toxic and smog-forming pollution that cement plants dump into the air.
Those lawmakers, together with their congressional supporters could easily pass this legislation and block the EPA from setting the United States on the path to a cleaner future. The EPA’s regulations are based on a series of in depth scientific studies that they’ve completed assessing the real health and environmental concerns that arise from large amounts of pollutants in our air and water sources. “Putting the EPA in a political stranglehold will sentence tens of thousands of people to debilitating, respiratory illnesses such as asthma, adding to the burden of chronic disease in the nation and increasing the financial burden to the health care system,” said Health Care Without Harm’s Climate Policy Coordinator Brenda Afzal, MS, RN. “If these lawmakers are successful in blocking the EPA from doing its job to cut life-threatening pollution, more asthma sufferers, particularly children, will wind up gasping for breath.” There is a tiny bit of good news here: lawmakers listen to their constituents, so write your congressperson a letter and tell them that you want them to help the EPA and not the polluters.