Contact:
Dan O’Sullivan, dan.osullivan@seiu.org, 202-730-7071

Issued August 03, 2015

SEIU's Henry: We can address climate change, public health while building a stronger economy

WASHINGTON — In response to today’s release of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s final Clean Power Plan rule, SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry issued the following statement:

“In today’s out-of-balance economy, many hard-working moms and dads struggle to make ends meet and provide better lives for their families. At home and in their communities, many families are forced to breathe the most hazardously dirty air in America, caused by carbon emissions from nearby power plants—especially in communities of color. SEIU is the largest healthcare workers’ union in the United States. Our members know first-hand the impact of both life-threatening pollution and extreme weather events. The Clean Power Plan will both reduce greenhouse gas emissions that result in climate change and loosen the air pollution chokehold on working families’ lives and livelihoods by helping to improve air quality, which will provide relief to children and adults suffering from asthma and other respiratory ailments.

“Dealing with factors that cause the catastrophic climate change affecting our everyday lives is an imperative for all of those fighting for justice and a fair shot at a decent life. We’ve seen the increasing human and financial costs from storms, droughts, healthcare issues and beyond that disproportionately affect the poor and communities of color. President Obama’s Clean Power Plan will improve our economy through the creation of jobs for hard-working Americans in a new energy economy — while improving the health of our families and their communities.

“We should not be driven by politicians and wealthy corporations prioritizing their pocketbooks to think that we have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment—our families can and should have both. The economy can thrive when we tackle dangerous pollution, but to do this we must ensure that all workers, especially those in industries and jobs impacted by the Clean Power Plan, be given the necessary supports to transition into good-paying sustainable jobs. These men and women made jobs in the power industry into good jobs that you could raise a family on by banding together and speaking up. We have a responsibility to make absolutely certain they still have the ability to work hard for their families and speak up for good jobs.”

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