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National Latino Groups Call on Congress to Protect Clean Air and Our Health

Adrianna Quintero

Posted March 29, 2011 in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment

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Today, groups representing millions of Latinos across the United States spoke in a unified voice to call on members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to stop any efforts to block, delay or prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from implementing the Clean Air Act (CAA) to reduce life-threatening pollution.

For forty years, the Clean Air Act has protected the health of millions in the United States from dangerous pollutants. That’s why the dangers of several political ploys to stop EPA from limiting emissions cannot be underestimated.

Bills proposed by Representative Upton, Senator Inhofe as well as senate proposals by Senators McConnell, Rockefeller and Baucus to block all or some of the EPA's ability to reduce carbon pollution, and amendments to the bill to reauthorize the Small Business Innovative Research program all pose a very real threat to the health and well-being of millions of people. 

A recent report by the US Environmental Protection Agency (The Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act from 1990 to 2020) found that cutting pollution through the Clean Air Act prevented 160,000 premature deaths in 2010 as well as over 1.7 million asthma attacks last year -- benefits that would be lost if these politically motivated bills and amendments were to pass.

For Latinos, who often bear the brunt of pollution impacts, the impacts would be even more serious. In the U.S. today, one out of every 10 children are affected by asthma, a staggering number in itself. Latino children, however, fare far worse being 60% more likely to develop asthma than non-Hispanic white children. Sadly, Latinos are also three times as likely to die of asthma as white non-Hispanics.

This is why this letter, an effort by Voces Verdes, brought together so many of the nation’s leading Latino advocacy groups from all backgrounds: education, health, environment, to highlight the toll that air pollution takes on this rapidly growing community. As Dr. Evelyn Montalvo explained during a telebriefing last week, families feel the impact of air pollution in health impacts that affect the entire family unit.  Impacts that include work days lost, jobs lost, missed school days and severe financial hardship. For the Hispanic population, where many are under-insured or lack insurance altogether, these preventable illnesses can be devastating.

Recent national polls shows that voters in the United States want the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to do more to hold polluters accountable and protect our health from dangerous air pollution. For Latinos these numbers are even higher. 

This letter reflects this call loud and clear.

Signers to the letter include:

  • ALMA-Arizona Latino Medical Association
  • Common Ground for Conservation - America Verde
  • Center for American Progress Action Fund
  • Consejo de Federaciones Mexicanas en Norteamérica (COFEM)
  • Democracia Ahora
  • Enlace Chicago
  • Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF)
  • Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU)
  • Hispanic Federation
  • La Onda Verde de NRDC
  • Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)
  • Latino Coalition for a Healthy California
  • League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
  • MANA- A National Latina Organization
  • Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF)
  • Mujeres Latinas en Acción
  • National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP)
  • National Conference of Puerto Rican Women, Inc. (NACOPRW)
  • National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA)
  • National Latino Coalition on Climate Change
  • National Puerto Rican Coalition, Inc. (NPRC)
  • Project Economic Refugee
  • United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI)
  • Voces Verdes
  • William C. Velazquez Institute
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