U.S. Senator Ed Markey, Health Professionals, Business Leaders Call for EPA to Focus on Climate Disruption in Midst of Government Shutdown

Boston - Today US Senator Ed Markey joined a Boston-based tech leader and a Tufts University Medical Professor to call for limiting dangerous carbon pollution from existing fossil fuel plants. The EPA was scheduled to hear from New Englanders on the issue today at their regional office in Boston, however the office is closed due to the ongoing government shutdown. This has left many New Englanders concerned that their voices may not be heard while pollution from fossil fuel plants continue to threaten the region with dirty air, stronger storms and more extreme weather.

"Because of the Tea Party government shutdown, the people of Massachusetts and the other New England states are missing their chance to express their concern about the need to reduce carbon pollution and the opportunity to discuss the importance of the Obama administration's proposed rule for new power plants. These rules are reasonable, feasible, and should soon be expanded to include standards for existing power plants," said US Senator Edward Markey.

According to a recent poll, 63 percent of small business owners support limiting carbon pollution from existing sources like coal-fired power plants.

“Everywhere I go, I find small business owners whose businesses suffer during extreme weather, or even from the threat of extreme weather.  These include restaurants and retail stores that lose business, and offices forced to shut down in response to major storms. Small businesses grapple with an unfair burden from extreme weather and climate disruption, which is why many of us are taking the lead. We’re implementing sustainability practices, speaking out against climate change and demonstrating how businesses can be part of the solution. Small businesses want to be a partner with the EPA in limiting dangerous pollution, building stronger communities and growing a more resilient economy,” Susan Labandibar, President of Tech Networks of Boston.

Pollution from coal plants and other fossil fuels put people’s health at risk from increasing smog related-asthma attacks to heat-related illnesses including heart and lung disease.

“The carbon pollution responsible for climate disruption has already delivered particular destruction to my patients. The horrible heat wave this summer caused heat stroke and dehydration for the elderly of Springfield’s North End. The inversion – heat causing increasing ozone production – made asthma and COPD rates soar. It is not ok to tell small children and those who suffer asthma that they should not go outdoors on such days. We must fix the source – dangerous pollution from coal and gas-fired power plants,” said Dr. Marty Nathan, Assistant Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine and Staff Physician in pediatrics and internal medicine at Baystate Brightwood Health Center.

“New Englanders have paid the price for harmful pollution from coal and other fossil fuels for far too long. We can’t wait any longer to solve this problem. Our families, businesses and communities are suffering from dirty air, stronger storms, and extreme weather. We’re counting on the EPA to help protect our way of life in New England by enacting the strongest protections possible to limit dangerous carbon pollution,” said James McCaffrey, Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign Representative.