For almost 50 years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been fulfilling its mission to protect human health and the environment. In fact, before the EPA was established, rivers were on fire! The EPA works to ensure that we have clean air, water, and land by reducing environmental health risks through strong regulatory actions and enforcement. But also since its conception, companies and vested interests that cause pollution have mounted numerous campaigns to strip the EPA’s authority to limit pollution.
The Clean Air Act is one of the most significant tools the EPA has to limit carbon pollution from major sources like power plants and automobiles. Clean Air Act safeguards have reduced pollution from major categories of pollutants by 73%, all while the economy has more than tripled in size. This authority is now under serious threat, and polluters are using a tricky strategy: disguising regulatory rollbacks within the package of climate solutions. And, this is becoming a trend.
Many climate solutions proposals (mostly those focused on a carbon fee and dividend) include provisions that roll back or eliminate the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon pollution. Without EPA safeguards, climate change is rendered unchecked, and the U.S.’s ability to address the “biggest global health threat of the 21st century” severely weakened. But, the good news is there is something health professionals can do.
This month, Climate for Health collaborated with the American Lung Association to craft talking points you can use to discuss why the EPA’s responsibility to limit climate change pollution must remain in the Clean Air Act. These talking points also include responses to questions you might get about including regulatory rollbacks in climate solutions proposals. These can be useful as you start the climate conversation with friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, and policymakers.