(Chicago, IL – June 8, 2012) Chicago has become the largest city to have a Clean Air Act Resolution urging President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fully employ and enforce the Clean Air Act to reduce harmful pollution in Chicago and throughout the country. The resolution comes on the heels of the American Lung Association’s State of the Air report, which gave Cook County an F grade.
“We need strong air pollution standards for the sake of our children and the success of our city. The Clean Air Act is the best way to keep our air clean and safe,” said Alderman Joe Moreno, who introduced the resolution along with several co-sponsors. “Our leaders in Washington need to know that Chicagoans support clean air, and will not stand idly by as big polluters try to dictate the terms of our air quality.”
The Clean Air Act protects public health by reducing harmful pollution, soot, and air toxins, and gives the EPA the ability to clean up the air. Sixty-nine percent of Americans believe EPA scientists – not Congress – should set health standards. Three-quarters of likely voters nationwide support the view that it is possible to protect public health through stronger air quality standards while achieving a healthy economy.
Yet, the Clean Air Act faces stiff opposition from some in Congress, threatening the progress the U.S. has made in making our air safe to breathe. Recent attempts to update and improve the Clean Air Act have been met with strong resistance by some members of Congress and the polluters who support them. Most recently, modest improvements to mercury and air toxic pollution standards were thwarted by the U.S. Senate.
In 2010, the Clean Air Act prevented 160,000 premature deaths; 1.7 million instances of asthma exacerbation; 41,000 respiratory hospital admissions; and 45,000 cardiovascular hospital admissions. New and improved regulations are expected to save even more.
“Washington cannot ignore the facts; more air pollution means more childhood asthma attacks, more illness and more people dying prematurely,” said Amy Ochalski, Healthy Air Campaign Manager, American Lung Association in Illinois. “We applaud Alderman Moreno for taking a stand on behalf of all Chicagoans. It’s a message that will be heard loud and clear.”
Similar legislation has been passed in dozens f cities nationwide, including Seattle, Wash.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Tucson, Ariz.; Minneapolis, Minn.; and Pittsburgh, Penn.
Last month, the American Lung Association released the 13th annual State of the Air 2012 report, which grades cities and counties based on the number of days of high ozone (smog) and particle pollution (soot). Cook County’s particle pollution and ozone grades remained the same this year, receiving an “F” grade, but the county saw five fewer unhealthy days of ozone pollution and eight fewer days of particle pollution over the 2011 report. Although Chicago’s air quality improved, the area ranked 18th in the nation this year for “most polluted” city.
About the American Lung Association in Illinois
Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is “Fighting for Air” through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association, a Charity Navigator Four Star Charity and holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lungil.org.