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Obama Moves to Cut Power Plant Emissions

Reducing carbon pollution would boost health, backers say; some are skeptical of plan

TUESDAY, June 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The Obama administration announced plans Monday that would require the United States to cut power plant emissions that many scientists blame for global warming by 30 percent by 2030. It's a move that would substantially improve the health of millions of Americans, federal officials said.

The plan targets the biggest source of carbon pollution in the country -- more than 600 coal-fired power plants, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The 645-page proposal, scheduled to be ready by next year, is a key piece of Obama's efforts to combat climate change. It also seeks to give the United States more credibility with other countries when negotiations on a new international treaty resume next year, the Associated Press reported.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, air pollution is a leading environmental threat to health. Health problems linked to air pollution include more emergency room visits and hospital stays for breathing and heart problems, worsening of asthma, low birth weight, decreased lung growth in children, lung cancer, and early deaths. The American Lung Association called the President's decision a major step toward improving the health of the nation.

"Today, climate change that is fueled by carbon pollution is supercharging risks not just to our health but to our communities, to our economy, and to our way of life," EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said during a news conference Monday morning. The proposal, which is already stirring opposition from Republican lawmakers and some business groups, "will result in lower medical bills, fewer trips to the emergency room, especially for those kids who have asthma, our elderly, and our infirmed," McCarthy added.

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