By Dr. Bruce Snyder, retired Neurologist and member of the North Star Chapter’s Executive and Clean Air and Renewable Energy (CARE) Committees
Over the past two years, I have worked with other health professionals to create a health care team that is working hard to address Climate Change and Public Health issues. The team has adopted a name – Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate – and we recently completed a 3 month project – writing a letter to Minnesota legislators in support of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) and building strong support from over 125 doctors, nurses as well as a number of health care organizations. The letter was featured in a Midwest Energy News article this week.
The letter to Minnesota state legislators (found here) brings attention to important opportunities to improve health outcomes and reduce the costs of healthcare in Minnesota.There is ample documentation that carbon and methane emissions from coal burned for electricity and oil burned for transportation are driving global warming, a process that is already damaging Minnesota’s forests, lakes and wildlife, contributing to expensive and dangerous weather extremes, and promoting the spread of infectious diseases. Additionally these fossil fuels are responsible for the emission of dangerous pollutants – e.g. nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides,mercury and volatile organic compounds – into our air and waters that increase the risks and costs of heart and lung disease, heat related illnesses, allergies and asthma. We can reduce the impacts of fossil fuels on our health by moving forward with the new Minnesota Clean Power Plan.
This letter reminds our legislators of the importance of supporting the work of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in developing our state’s plan to implement the federal Clean Power Plan. The CPP should be implemented without delay; attempts to impose legislative controls or review must be turned back.
Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate has a busy schedule of new projects we are pursuing. We always want to hear from health care folks interested in working with us! Check out our website at http://hpforhc.weebly.com/ and our Facebook page.