Doctors, nurses and other public health professionals came out in force in San Francisco against the Trump administration’s dangerous plan to repeal the Clean Power Plan, the most comprehensive piece of climate change policy on the federal level. In 2015, President Obama signed the CPP to create viable pathways for states to slash carbon emissions from power plants by almost one-third by 2030.
Bob Gould, MD, president of Physicians for Social Responsibility San Francisco, testified before the EPA about the health impacts of abandoning the Clean Power Plan:
“The physicians I represent fully understand the deleterious impact of harmful air pollution on human health and development. Major health provider and public health professional organizations have, over many decades, consistently supported strong regulations to reduce environmental exposures that are particularly toxic to vulnerable populations such as pregnant women, children and those facing a variety of socioeconomic stressors in our underserved communities of color.
“At the same time, we have recognized the immense co-benefits of cost-effective measures such as the Clean Power Plan—that by curbing power plant emissions we can simultaneously reduce toxic air pollution and the drivers of global warming that represent a profound threat to human health and survival.
“We health professionals are thus very concerned that revoking the Clean Power Plan would result in allowing continued air pollution from burning coal that causes over 13,000 deaths and 20,000 heart attacks in the U.S. each year, while contributing 23 percent more carbon pollution from power plants that would spur the dread impacts of global warming. We do not want our communities to also face greater emissions of harmful particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and other hazardous air pollutants, including mercury that comes from power plants. Instead, if EPA heeds our call to fully implement the Clean Power Plan we can prevent 90,000 pediatric asthma attacks, 4,500 premature deaths, and hundreds of thousands of lost work and school days each year.
“As a physician and human being who cares deeply about protecting our planet from the ravages of pollution and global warming that in California have been graphically illustrated in the horrific wildfires of last year, I also have a personal stake in this. I want my two grandsons, and all of their generation to have a future to thrive in, not foreshortened by the short-term greed of those who have sought to impede EPA’s clear charge to safeguard our health and the environment that sustains us. So please heed our call to restore your historic commitment to public health and fully implement the Clean Power Plan.”