In 1970, then Republican President Richard Millhouse Nixon signed into law the Clean Air Act to encourage economic growth while promoting public health. After more than 40 years it has been pivotal in preventing more than 200,000 premature deaths, avoiding more than 700,000 cases of chronic bronchitis, and decreasing total emissions of the six principle air pollutants by 41%. Over the same period of time the GDP has increased by more than 64%. This is one successful piece of public policy and anyone that tells you otherwise is probably benefiting financially from the dirty coal industry or other polluters.
Regardless, those industry polluters are at it again and have identified the Clean Air Act as there poster child of burdensome, over reaching policies. These industry leaders have made massive investments in politicians and “advocacy” organizations that disseminate their economic scare tactics. They claim the Clean Air Act is the type of policy that impedes economic growth despite the major economic growth the United States has seen over the last 40 years. Unfortunately, history and facts are not on their side, but fortunately for them, they have the ability to mobilize a group of people that don’t know the history and disregard fact. That’s why MPIRG will be fighting back!
This fall, as the propaganda machine revs up for the 2012 election watch out for misleading attacks on bedrock public policy like the Clean Air Act. MPIRG will be working to counter these well funded attacks with some good old fashioned grassroots organizing and public education.
We at MPIRG believe that citizens deserve basic public health and environmental standards and that industry should utilize innovations spurred on from the market to improve the negative impacts they have on public health and the environment.
We can have both a robust economy and clean air, but it will take a little old fashioned American ingenuity.