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Clean Power Plan Repeal is a Threat to Public Health

October 9, 2017
Contact: Cara Cook, Climate Change Program Coordinator, ANHE

Washington, D.C. (October 9, 2017)— Today U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that the EPA intends to repeal the Clean Power Plan tomorrow. In response to this announcement, the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments’ Executive Director, Katie Huffling, MS, RN, CNM issued the following statement:

“As nurses concerned about the public health impacts resulting from poor air quality and a changing climate, we are deeply disappointed about the decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan. The Clean Power Plan, a regulation designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, which contribute almost a third of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, would reduce harmful air pollution that causes climate change. Administrator Pruitt stated that the EPA should not be picking winners and losers, but by his announcement today it is clear that by repealing the Clean Power Plan public health is the loser.”

“The Clean Power Plan, as adopted in 2015, would avoid up to 3,600 premature deaths, 90, 000 asthma attacks in children, up to 1,700 heart attacks, 1,700 hospital admissions, and 300, 000 missed school and work days a year, and substantially reduce carbon emissions that worsen climate change. Repealing or weakening this plan eliminates these lifesaving protections and puts the health of Americans at risk.”

“Climate change is a public health crisis. Nurses are already seeing the affects of climate change on health, including worsening of asthma and other chronic respiratory conditions from wildfire smoke exposure and poor air quality on extreme heat days; premature deaths related to air pollution and extreme weather; increases in vector-borne disease transmission and geographic expansion – such as Lyme disease and Zika; and mental health impacts resulting from extreme weather events. “

“Responding to climate change demands urgent and immediate action to protect the health of all Americans, especially our most vulnerable—children, the elderly, low-income communities, and individuals with chronic diseases. Our country cannot risk weak action on climate change nor should we ignore these threats to our health and continue to delay meaningful action to reduce carbon emissions.”

“As health professionals, we must stand together to fight against attacks that prioritize industry profits over human health. The Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments will continue to oppose efforts to weaken the Clean Power Plan and climate action. We are calling on nurses across the country to demand action and leadership from the EPA that would protect against the health impacts of climate change.”


The Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments is the only national nursing organization focused solely on how the environment impacts human health. The mission of ANHE is to promote healthy people and healthy environments by educating and leading the nursing profession, advancing research, incorporating evidence-based practice, and influencing policy.