Monday, March 28, 2011

American Lung Association Agrees: EPA Budget Cuts Are Bad News

Editor's Note:  This article was written by a guest contributor, Nick Scott, a recent graduate of the University of Florida who is a health and political advocate. Frequent readers of our blog are encouraged to send ideas to my e-mail for posts. Lefty's retains the right to select only high quality posts with appropriate content from submissions, but welcomes the opportunity to have our readers do guest columns!!

As of now, the Environmental Protection Agency in under fire. If the House Republicans see their way, the EPA will undergo a 30% budget cut. To make matters worse, the GOP is pushing to repeal The Clean Air Act in addition to several other environmental initiatives, including:

· Protecting the public from destruction caused by mountaintop mining.
· Allowing the public to review offshore drilling permits.
· Prohibiting oil companies from being exempt to the Clean Air Act while drilling in the Arctic.
· The restoration and protection of Chesapeake Bay

If the proposed legislation becomes law, we will see the EPA practically abolished. The consequences of such an event will prove to be devastating for the quality of our air, water, and public land reserves. Without the regulations set forth by the EPA, environmental toxins will have free reign over the environment where they will slowly and silently ravage the ecosystem.

As of March 8th 2010, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton has reported that 21 additional co-sponsors have signed onto his legislation proposing to block the EPA’s authority over the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. Upton commented on the matter during a briefing of the bill, stating:
“It shows that we have pretty solid support.”
Such news is quite disheartening to environmental and health advocates. The health risks involved with this legislation are staggering. Without regulation, pollution and environmental toxin levels will undoubtedly rise. There will be a marked spike in the number of annual children diagnosed with asthma, brain cancer, mesothelioma, and other serious health problems. The American Lung Association agrees that the health risks presented by this legislation are just not worth it:
“We all have to make do with less during these difficult economic times, but these radical cuts to necessary federal agencies and programs would do much more harm than good,” said Charles D. Connor, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “Health will be harmed and lives may be lost as a result of these proposed cuts.
Asthma, even for adults, is one of the largest contributors to work and school absenteeism. The illness results in almost 15 million lost workdays each year. Furthermore, mesothelioma symptoms (a rare cancer that forms on the lining of the lungs) are often mistaken for symptoms of asthma. When left undiagnosed, the mesothelioma life expectancy does not generally exceed 14 months.

Carbon emission regulation saves money on the collateral costs of things such as health insurance and hospital bills. Slashing the funds of climate control programs is not the answer we need!

1 comment:

Bill said...

This is really unfortunate. Asthma rates for children have been going down in recent years from a high in the 80s and 90s, and we can thank improved emissions standards for that.

I was part of the U.S.'s Asthma Epidemic when I was growing up. As a toddler I had to be hospitalized for severe asthma attacks and my breathing problems kept me out of school as a kid for nearly a month every year. Even now that my adult lungs can handle the chronic asthma and I haven't had an attack in over a year, I still have to deal with higher health insurance costs for the rest of my life.

I was hoping that my generation would be the last one to have to deal with this. Once again, the middle class and working class are footing the bill.