Groups Representing Over 5 Million Latinos Call on Congress and Obama to Protect the Clean Air Act

This past June, some in the U.S. Senate attempted to weaken the Clean Air Act (CAA) by overturning the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) scientific finding that global warming pollution is harmful to people’s health and welfare.

Thanks to calls, letters and emails from clean air lovers nationwide and sensible minds prevailing in the senate, this attack on our clean air and health was thwarted.

But polluters are a persistent bunch, and as expected, they are at it again. This time, major polluters and lobbyists are trying to block, weaken or delay enforcement of the Clean Air Act. Instead of allowing the EPA to do its job, some legislators want to put our health at risk in order to give polluting industries free rein to dump harmful pollution into our air and into our children’s lungs.

This is a risk we simply can’t take.

That’s why groups representing over 5 million Latino citizens across the U.S. sent a letter to Congress and the President today, asking them to oppose any legislation that would block or delay EPA from enforcing the Clean Air Act.

As our 2004 report, Hidden Danger found, over 66 percent of all Latinos in the U.S. live in areas that do not meet the federal government’s air quality standards. Some 50 percent of Hispanics live in areas that violate the federal air pollution standard for ozone, a primary contributor to asthma and other respiratory disease. Increased temperatures as a result of global warming, will impact these already affected areas  by exacerbating problems with ground level ozone formation leading to losses in productivity, excess health care costs and lives lost.

Nowhere was this as clear as during the heat wave in Russia this summer. Even here in the US, bad air days as a result of higher temperatures caused many children to spend hot summer days indoors.

EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gases would address problems like these -- problems such as those faced by Latinos in Chicago and the surrounding area, where 800,000 Hispanics live within ten miles of two power plants that are estimated to contribute to 2,800 asthma attacks and 41 premature deaths every year. Simply put, EPA’s action will save lives. 

Protecting the Clean Air Act also means jobs and better opportunities. Hispanic-owned businesses are increasing at more than double the national rate and many of these businesses will create jobs in construction, weatherization and other fields that will benefit from investments in energy efficiency and clean technologies. This growth will help to keep our country on-track with the rest of the world, while creating jobs here in the U.S. to move all US citizens, not only Hispanics, forward.

Defending the EPA’s ability to enforce the Clean Air Act will protect public health, limit pollution, and transition us to a clean energy future and NRDC applauds the efforts of Latino groups to speak out with a loud and united voice in support of the EPA and the Clean Air Act. We hope that members of Congress and lobbyists recognize that this is a group that’s ready to fight for the opportunities and protections that will ensure a brighter future for all.

Read the letter at: