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Michelle Hesterberg,
Environment Minnesota

Congresswoman Bachmann Supports Polluters Over Health of Children

For Immediate Release

More than 59,000 Minnesota residents in and around Representative Bachmann’s district with asthma, including 213,482 children, are at increased risk of adverse health consequences if she is successful in preventing the US EPA from updating Clean Air Act standards, according to data compiled by the Natural Resources Defense Council and released by Environment Minnesota.  Representative Bachmann has received more than $96,000 from polluters, many of which have made stopping the EPA a high priority.
 
Underscoring the severity of the problem, Sixth Congressional District residents statewide suffer from asthma including 118,111 children.   EPA scientists have determined that carbon dioxide endangers public health, in part because it contributes to warmer temperatures, which make it easier for smog pollution to develop and harder to reduce it. Smog is particularly dangerous to asthma sufferers. Warmer temperatures are also associated with increased morbidity and mortality due to increased severe weather events, such as hurricanes and floods; the spread of infectious disease; and heat-related illnesses, all of which incur additional health care costs.

Representative Bachmann has cosponsored legislation intended to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from limiting air pollution.  In addition, she voted in favor of a funding bill (HR 1) on February 19 that, among other things, blocks the EPA from limiting carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants and other industrial sources.  This bill amounts to the biggest attack on the health and environment of Minnesotans in recent history.  By blocking new air pollution limits, she would put the public’s health at risk by allowing polluters to continue emitting unlimited amounts of carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the air.
“Congresswoman Bachmann has turned her back on the health of families and children in her district, and instead has chosen to embrace corporate polluters,” said Jessica Buchberger, Environment Minnesota. “As the EPA works to protect public health from dangerous carbon pollution, Congress should support their efforts, not stand in the way.” 

Health professionals are concerned about the direction Congress is headed in when it comes to air pollution. Nearly 300 national and local health groups and other organizations recently called on Congress to fully support the EPA’s efforts to limit air pollution In addition, nearly 2,000 doctors, nurses and other individual health care professionals recently urged Congress not to block EPA efforts to limit air pollution.
 
“Our elected representatives should hold big polluters accountable, not help them block the strong safeguards that would protect our health and quality of life,” said Dan Lashof, an environmental scientist and Director of NRDC’s Climate Center.  “Unfortunately, these dirty air boosters are choosing to stand up for the polluters instead of public health. They voted for the dirtiest, most irresponsible bill I have ever seen come out of the House or Senate. We think the scientists and experts at the EPA should decide what pollution limits are needed, not politicians whose careers have been supported by big polluters.”
 
The U.S. House passed a “Continuing Resolution” funding bill (HR 1) on Feb 19, 2011, which blocks EPA from limiting carbon pollution from power plants.  Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, offered the amendment (No. 466) to this bill that was adopted and which would block EPA’s limits on carbon pollution from cars, power plants and other industrial sources.
 
Representative Bachmann supported H.R. 1 and Rep. Poe’s amendment and is a co-sponsor of H.R. 153 Poe GHG allow unlimited carbon pollution.
 
SOURCES: Asthma prevalence estimates are from the American Lung Association’s “Estimated Prevalence and Incidence of Lung Disease by Lung Association Territory” which can be found at http://www.lungusa.org/finding-cures/our-research/trend-reports/estimate.... Please note that the asthma data is by county. Estimates of asthma prevalence “in and around” specific districts include the prevalence estimates for each county wholly or partly within the district. In urban areas where several districts may all include different parts of the same county, numbers will appear to be the same. Campaign contributions information is from Open Secrets (http://www.OpenSecrets.org) and Federal Election Commission (http://www.fec.gov/disclosure.shtml) reports of contributions from oil and gas, electric utility, and coal and mining sectors. Top donors in these categories oppose key EPA safeguards.
 
 
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Environment Minnesota is a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization. Our professional staff combines independent research, practical ideas and tough-minded advocacy to overcome the opposition of powerful special interests and win real results for Minnesota's environment. Environment Minnesota's staff draws on 30 years of success in tackling our state's top environmental problems.
As part of Environment America, we fight to protect our air, water and open spaces, here in Minnesota, in state capitols across the country, and in Washington, D.C.
 
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Livingston, Montana, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org.