To the editor:
Some members of Congress have declared war on the Clean Air Act, one of our country's most important laws protecting the air we breathe. Despite 40 years of the law's success, these lawmakers say we can no longer afford the Act's protections. What they don't mention is that the Act has saved thousands of lives by cleaning up dirty air and has held polluters accountable, creating benefits valued at $22.2 trillion — 42 times the estimated costs of its regulations. Updated Clean Air Act standards will help spur innovation and create jobs.
Following an order of the U.S. Supreme Court, the Environmental Protection Agency is now beginning to use the Clean Air Act to reduce carbon dioxide pollution from cars and trucks, power plants, refineries and other smokestack polluters. We simply can't afford to repeal or delay these protections, as has been proposed by Congress members including Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).
For decades, the Clean Air Act has dramatically reduced dangerous pollutants like mercury and lead, prevented millions of illnesses like asthma and cancer, and saved thousands of lives. We can't allow some in Congress to put polluters' profits above public health.