The Choice Is Clear: Public Health vs. Polluters

Right now, big polluters and their friends in Congress are cutting deals that would make our air and water dirtier. They are trying to attach these deals to just about every piece of legislation being considered in Congress, including the bill to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year.

These dirty deals would be bad for our health and cost Americans money.

That is why there should be no question about where President Obama stands on this attack on public health. While the White House today reaffirmed its opposition to policy riders on the spending bill, it did not make clear whether the President would use his veto pen if a bill with riders comes to his desk.

We need that clarity. We need the president to clearly say where he stands, once and for all. What we want him to say is, “No riders, period.” We want him to stand up and defend the health of all Americans.

The president must categorically reject any dirty air deal that would impede the Environmental Protection Agency from doing its job of protecting public health from soot, smog, toxic and carbon pollution. It’s a choice between polluters and public health.

And it’s a choice between polluters and voters. Our polling of key districts in a handful of states and polling by other groups has clearly demonstrated that voters across party lines firmly support protecting public health, preserving clean air, and letting the EPA do its job.

We conducted district-level polling in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Minnesota, Virginia and Wisconsin, and across the board, voters firmly support clean air, EPA decision-making on pollution, and reducing carbon pollution.

In Michigan, for instance, 76 percent of the respondents said the EPA should decide, including 73 percent of Independents. In Virginia, 77 percent said the EPA should decide, including 73 percent of Independents. The findings were the same in all the states we polled.

This is a vital moment that will shape whether we as a nation make the principled commitment to protecting public health from air pollution or whether we give in to the big polluters and let them do what they want to our air.

Mr. President, this is a leadership moment for all Americans. By unequivocally making clear you will oppose dirty deal riders and that you will use the veto pen, you will be siding with principle, public health, and public sentiment. What could be better politics than that?



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