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DEBATE NIGHT: What’s the Jobs Plan beyond Weakening Public Health Protections?

Contact: Kate Geller, (202) 785-8683 or

September 7, 2011  

WASHINGTON – In advance of tonight’s NBC News/POLITICO presidential debate, LCV Senior Vice President of Campaigns Navin Nayak released the following statement questioning just how the candidates will talk about jobs during the primetime discussion:

“There is no debating that our country needs more jobs, but the main idea that we’ve heard from presidential candidates so far is to give corporations more power, and leave Americans to fend for themselves. On the campaign trail and in debates, candidates have attacked cherished public health protections that provide clean air and clean water. Destroying these vital protections doesn’t create jobs, it costs lives. Tens of thousands of lives. So the question for tonight’s debate is simple: just how many lives are these candidates willing to sacrifice to please polluters?

If these candidates continue to make wild claims that fly in the face of science and popular opinion, they will lose the center where poll after poll shows that Americans oppose eliminating their basic public health protections for the air we breathe and the water we drink. That the presidential candidates think borrowing ideas to weaken public health from the most unpopular Congress in American history is a winning agenda shows just how out of touch they really are with the American public.”


A June nationwide poll from the American Lung Association found that 66 percent of voters believe that EPA scientists, rather than Congress, should set pollution standards. ( )

A CNN poll conducted immediately after the budget showdown this spring, found that a staggering 71 percent say the federal government should continue to provide financing to the EPA to enforce regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. (Q18;


  • The repeal of five EPA regulations targeted by Eric Cantor and Republican leadership could lead to up to 68,100 additional premature deaths and 52,000 additional hospitalizations annually.  These regulations “would also reduce aggravated asthma cases by up to 657,000” and “potentially prevent 5.6 million missed days of school or work due to respiratory distress or ailments linked to air pollution.”  [Center for American Progress, 9/6/11]
  • According to the Washington Post, “The EPA asserts that for every dollar spent on measures to cut particulate and ozone pollution, there will be $30 in economic benefits to public health — fewer sick days taken, fewer chronic illnesses, fewer early deaths.”  [Washington Post, 7/2/11]
  • By 2020, the Clean Air Act will prevent 230,000 premature deaths each year from illness related to air pollution.  The Act and its amendments would also prevent over 22 million lost work and school days; 200,000 heart attacks; and 2.4 million asthma attacks.  The regulations will also save an estimated $2 trillion in health care costs by 2020.  In comparison, the original cost of implementation was $65 million.   [EPA Second Prospective Study, April 2011]
  • In just the year 2010, the Clean Air Act prevented 160,000 premature deaths; 130,000 heart attacks, 13 million missed work days and 1.7 million asthma attacks. [EPA Second Prospective Study, April 2011]

Navin Nayak will be available for comment immediately following this evening’s debate. Contact Kate Geller at (516) 446-9703 (cell) or to schedule an interview.

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