I live in a small mountain community in Northeast Georgia and I have been a physician for 43 years. It has become obvious to me that if we do not provide a healthy environment on our earth, future generations will suffer both economically and socially, and from severe medical problems.
I have looked deeply into the Clean Power Plan, and I am convinced it can bring about a great improvement in both the economic and medical well being of America.
Lake Chatuge, only a few miles from where I live, is so badly polluted from mercury from coal-fired power plants that we are warned not to eat the fish from the lake. Coal-fired power plants cause many and serious medical problems. It is estimated pollutants from these plants contribute to 24,000 premature deaths, 38,200 nonfatal heart attacks and countless thousands of cases of asthma, bronchitis and lung cancer.
Coal-fired power plants are the leading cause of carbon dioxide production, which is the leading contributor to global warming. Global warming has the potential to cause severe disruption to our climate system with the resultant deaths of countless millions of people in future generations.
The Clean Power Plan would give a reduction of carbon pollution of 30 percent by 2030. It would avoid about 150,000 asthma attacks each year in children and 420,000 respiratory infections, 6,000 premature deaths each year, and 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks yearly. All of us in America would be able to live healthier, more productive lives if we could curb the pollution from these plants.
Despite what critics say, the Clean Power Plan would have positive economic benefits. As we switched to more renewable energy, we would create about 245,000 good paying jobs. For every dollar invested through the Clean Power Plan, America will see up to $7 in health benefits. Due to increased energy conservation and efficiency and the progressive dropping of alternative fuel prices, electricity bills will be reduced by an estimated 8 percent by 2030.
If people do not like the Clean Power Plan, with its government controls, they may prefer the Citizens Climate Lobby’s carbon fee and dividend plan, which puts a price on carbon production and returns all the money to U.S. citizens. According to the well-respected Regional Economic Modeling Inc. study, over the next 20 years, this will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 60 percent, add over 2 million jobs, and increase our GDP.
If we wish to continue to prosper as a nation, it is clear that we must choose a plan, and choose soon.