A pressing problem

Posted: 12/31/2009

Respiratory Health Association's Director of Environmental Health Programs Brian Urbaszewski was among the six environmental, health and science advocates who contributed this op-ed to Chicago Tribune:

This is in response to "Back off, EPA" (Editorial, Dec. 22). We agree with the Tribune's editorial writers that Congress should pass legislation to address climate change. However, the six environmental, health and science groups submitting this letter strongly disagree with the paper's position that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should not take steps to cut global warming pollution.

Two years ago the Supreme Court recognized the basic conclusions of climate science that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases endanger public health and welfare and that EPA had the authority and the obligation to regulate them. Now the EPA is moving forward as it should. Forcing the agency to back off would be tantamount to taking the "protection" out of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Had the EPA backed off on cutting air pollution over the last 40 years, Chicago would still be dark with harmful smog and soot.

Global warming is a pressing problem, and Congress should tackle it directly with comprehensive, economy-wide legislation that sets pollution limits and ramps up investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy. A bill passed the House in June. Now the Senate needs to act.

As the legislative process moves along, the planet continues to warm. This decade is the warmest on record, and climate change is occurring faster than what scientists projected just two years ago. That's why the EPA is right to begin reducing the pollution that threatens our health and well-being.

-- Clare Butterfield, Faith in Place
-- Brian Granahan, Environment Illinois
-- Rebecca Stanfield, Natural Resources Defense Council
-- Brian Urbaszewski, Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago
-- Katherine Schrank, Partners for Clean Choice
-- Ron Burke, Union of Concerned Scientist


Download a PDF of the original article here