Sen. Carper Examines the Clean Air Act’s Impact on Protecting Public Health

Delaware nurse testifies on importance of pollution regulations for public wellbeing

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Clean Air, joined the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hearing that examined the Clean Air Act’s impact on protecting public health. The hearing, “The Clean Air Act and Public Health,” featured testimony from a panel of experts, including U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson and a registered nurse representing the American Nurses Association and Delaware Nurses Association.  

President Richard Nixon signed the Clean Air Act into law on December 31, 1970 to help protect public human health and the environment while preserving America’s economic strength. Since 1970, EPA has estimated that the Act provided substantial pollution reduction and public health benefits, including the prevention of more than 200,000 premature deaths and 22 million lost work days.  

“The Clean Air Act is expected to save this country trillions of dollars every year in health care costs,” said Sen. Carper. “Every time a child suffers from a severe asthma attack during a high ozone day, it costs the family and the health care system thousands of dollars in hospital bills. Unfortunately, we haven’t even begun to understand the real health care costs of some of our deadliest air toxics. Luckily, the solutions far outweigh the costs, and help give us better health care outcomes for less money.”  

“Our nation has made great strides in reducing our nation’s air pollution, but more can be done,” continued Sen. Carper. “More must be done if we want to protect our children and compete in the emerging global clean energy economy. I’m going to do everything in my power to work with the Administration and my colleagues to protect the Clean Air Act because, by doing so, we’ll go a long way toward ensuring that our children will have the chance to live healthier lives, longer lives, more productive lives and happier lives.”  

Sarah Bucic, MSN, RN, of Delaware, testified on the importance of the Clean Air Act, the positive impact it has had on the health of our nation, and the fundamental importance of continuing to support the Clean Air Act to further protect public health.  

“The bottom line is pollution creates more patients,” said Ms. Bucic. “From a nursing perspective, our interventions remain limited if the environment remains polluted. We are fixed in a state of keeping patients with chronic conditions like asthma and other pulmonary and cardiovascular conditions stabilized, when we all know that prevention is the only real, effective and long-term treatment.”  

Other witnesses giving testimony at the hearing included Dr. Jerome A. Paulson, MD, FAAP, from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the George Washington University; Dr. Harvey Brenner, Ph.D. from the University of North Texas; Ms. Cathy Woollums from MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company; and Dr. Alfred Munzer, MD from Washington Adventist Hospital.  

For more information or to watch a webcast of the hearing, please click here.