The American Lung Association is right up there with the Union of Concerned Scientists as a leftist activist organization pretending to be a professional association with high-minded objectives. In fact, the American Lung Association is a bunch of political thugs. Their latest hit job is putting up billboards in Rep. Fred Upton’s district in Michigan that urge him to “protect our kids’ health. Don’t weaken the Clean Air Act (PDF).” The billboard has a photo of an adolescent girl with a respirator.
The American Lung Association is opposing a bill, the Energy Tax Prevention Act (H. R. 910), that is sponsored by Rep. Upton, the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Upton’s bill, which is expected to be debated on the House floor in early April, does nothing to weaken the Clean Air Act. It simply prevents the Environmental Protection Agency from using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
Congress never intended the Clean Air Act to be used to enforce global warming policies on the American people. As my CEI colleague Marlo Lewis recently noted, attempts to add provisions to the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 that would allow the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions were defeated in the Senate. A similar attempt in the House went nowhere.
So what Rep. Upton is trying to do is to restore the Clean Air Act to the purpose originally intended by Congress—that is, to reducing air pollution. The American Lung Association should welcome his effort because it removes a huge distraction and financial drain from the EPA. Clarifying that the Clean Air Act cannot be used to solve global warming will allow the EPA to concentrate on protecting people’s health.
Instead, the American Lung Association implies that Rep. Upton is supporting a bill that will increase childhood asthma rates. The charge is ludicrous. If the American Lung Association cared about children, they would consider the effects on families of being forced to pay higher energy prices as a result of EPA’s global warming regulations. There is a large amount of medical literature that shows the adverse health effects of poverty. The effects are especially pronounced on infants and young children.
As JunkScience.com reports, the most scandalous aspect of the American Lung Association’s lobbying against the Energy Tax Prevention Act is that one of its major funders is the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA has given the American Lung Association over twenty million dollars in the last ten years. So the EPA pays the American Lung Association, which in turn lobbies against a bill that would rein in EPA. The impropriety is obvious, but then the American Lung Association is shameless.