Statement by Emmie Theberge, NRCM Clean Energy Project Outreach Coordinator
My name is Emmie Theberge, and I am the Clean Energy Outreach Coordinator for the Natural Resources Council of Maine.
Thank you for coming here today to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Act has been a tremendous success for Maine’s public health. It has drastically reduced the amount of pollution emitted into our air. Across the country, it has helped to save thousands of lives and prevented a million asthma attacks since the Act was passed in 1970.
Between 1970 and 1990 the EPA estimates the net benefits of the Clean Air Act were $21.5 trillion dollars! We are talking about enormous benefits to people across the nation.
But there is still more to be done. Loopholes and delays are letting Big Polluters — including our largest oil and coal companies — off the hook for cleaning up their pollution.
These companies are once again putting their profits before our health and waging a new assault on the Clean Air Act. They are demanding that the U.S. Congress prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from stopping carbon pollution that is causing dangerous climate change. Cutting carbon pollution would prevent health problems and tens of thousands of premature deaths. Blocking EPA from stopping this pollution would gut the Clean Air Act’s ability to safeguard our health, as it has for the past 40 years.
It is critical that our Maine Senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, put clean air and public health first. We are very pleased to release this broad coalition letter from Maine’s leading public health groups and doctors that urges our senators to do just that: protect the Clean Air Act in its entirety.