U.S. House of Representatives Surrenders Clean Air to Polluters, Ignores the Health of Children and People with Heart Conditions

For Immediate Release

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U.S. House of Representatives Surrenders Clean Air to Polluters, Ignores the Health of Children and People with Heart Conditions

WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the polluter backed “Smoggy Skies Act” (H.R. 806), marking another attempt by the fossil fuel industry to dismantle the Clean Air Act’s science-based health protections. These protections are essential to protecting children with asthma and people with chronic heart conditions from life threatening levels of pollution that can send them to the emergency room on bad air days.

The Smoggy Skies Act would significantly undermine the updated smog pollution standard put in place in 2015 by delaying its implementation and compliance timeline by a staggering 8 years -- enabling polluters to pollute at higher levels and dismantle compliance requirements for the areas with the dirtiest air. In addition to threatening federal protections against smog pollution, it would also stifle the development of future protections against air pollution. It would diminish lifesaving protections for not only smog, but also carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and even toxic lead pollution - pollutants linked to a range of health serious problems including heart attacks, strokes, and asthma attacks.

In response, Mary Anne Hitt, Director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, released the following statement:

“Representatives in the U.S. House just voted to surrender clean air to the fossil fuel industry and abandon millions of children across the country with asthma, and people with heart conditions, to fend for themselves during the most dangerous time of year. Summer is high season for bad air days and spikes in smog pollution, but instead of working to hold polluters accountable to protect families from the worst health problems triggered by dirty air, these representatives voted to give them free rein to pollute for a jaw-dropping eight years.

“This blatant disregard for public health is as shocking as it is dangerous. No parent should have to watch their child struggle to breathe, but that’s exactly will happen to more families if this legislation passes Congress. As a mother, I am stunned that representatives can ignore the plight of millions of children and instead side with helping polluters fatten their bottom lines at our kids’ expense. All who voted for this bill should be ashamed.”

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The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.

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