CINCINNATI - The Cincinnati City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to pass a resolution urging the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act. The measure, introduced by Councilmember Laure Quinlivan, cited scientific consensus labeling carbon pollution as a public health threat and the city’s ongoing commitment to sustainability as reasons to act.
“We are making great strides toward a ‘greener’ City with our Green Cincinnati Plan,” said Councilmember Quinlivan, who serves as the council’s green chair. “To continue to work tirelessly for improved air quality in our region and nationwide, we must also send a strong message of full support for the Clean Air Act to the EPA. I am proud that my colleagues sent this message by passing the resolution.”
A seminal environmental law signed in to law by President Nixon 40 years ago, the Clean Air Act has proven to be a cost-effective tool for reducing dangerous pollution. Under the law, EPA is required to periodically update the Clean Air Act rules to reflect current scientific understanding of public health threats from pollution. An independent analysis estimated the economic benefits resulting from the Clean Air Act to outweigh the cost by a ratio of three to one.
“For decades, scientists have warned that carbon pollution fuels global warming. Here in Cincinnati, hotter summer days trigger poor air quality that makes it tougher for kids to breathe,” said Matt Caffrey, Field Associate for Environment Ohio. “Global warming is also loading the dice for more extreme weather events that pose an increasingly harmful threat to local communities.”
In addition to reducing carbon pollution, EPA has recently begun to more forward a set of new Clean Air Act rules to reduce smog, soot, ozone, and mercury pollution. The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, finalized in December, will reduce the mercury pollution from power plants up to 90 percent, saving an estimated 11,000 lives.
Despite the Clean Air Act’s strong track record of improving public health, the US House of Representatives, led by Speaker John Boehner of West Chester, has passed a series of bills aimed at gutting EPA’s ability to enforce the Clean Air Act. Environmental and public health advocates expect to additional attempts to roll back EPA’s upcoming carbon pollution rules in the coming months.
“In the face of tough challenges and opposition from some members of Congress and candidates for President, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson should stand strong to fully enforce the Clean Air Act,” concluded Caffrey.
Environment Ohio is a state-wide, citizen-based, environmental advocacy organization working to protect the places we love and the environmental values we share. To learn more, visit www.environmentohio.org.