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PSR Board President Conveys Message to the White House: Protect the Clean Air Act

April 22, 2010

(Washington, DC)  Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) Board President Jeff Patterson, DO, carried a strong health message to the White House today about the need for action on climate change to protect the health of all Americans.  Attending the President’s Earth Day reception, Dr. Patterson stated that “The health of Americans requires that we reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the safest, most immediate way possible.”

He went on to say, “We want the Administration and Congress to understand that the Clean Air Act is our best available tool for reducing air emissions.  It has a strong history of reaping health benefits for the public.  Physicians need to do everything we can to keep that tool powerful and effective.”

While the mood at today’s White House reception was celebratory, health and environmental leaders recognize the need to strengthen environmental and climate policies.  PSR members, in particular, understand the connection between the health of the planet and the health of their patients, which is why they support replacing toxic energy sources such as coal and nuclear energy with carbon-free, safe alternatives. PSR’s 50,000 members and e-activists and 55 physician and student chapters work to prevent the most severe health crises that the world cannot cure, including global warming, nuclear accidents, and nuclear war. 

PSR leaders are looking ahead to next week when they will be on Capitol Hill on April 29 for the PSR Day of Action.

“We are happy to celebrate Earth Day, but we also have to gear up for some hard work,” said PSR executive director Peter Wilk, MD.  “Toxics from electrical generation, cars and trucks, and industry degrade the environment and contribute to chronic diseases and premature deaths.”

“Forty years after the first Earth Day, we’re still talking about coal’s deadly effects.  We should have solved that problem years ago,” said Kristen Welker-Hood, ScD, MSN, RN, environment and health director.  Yet, she noted, “We and our allies have had some notable successes.”  PSR has contributed to blocking proposed coal plants in Iowa as well as other states and is working to replace existing coal plants with clean alternatives in ten other states, allowing residents to live more healthful lives.

PSR will continue its efforts next week with its Day of Action.

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For more information please contact Barbara Gottlieb at 202-587-5225 or bgottlieb@psr.org.

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