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June 01, 2012

Coal Pollution: Racial and Ethnic Asthma Disparities

Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the launch of the Coordinated Federal Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Asthma Disparities with Obama Administration cabinet secretaries and local, state, and national partners.

As you may know, approximately seven million children - from infants to 17-year-olds - in the United States suffer from asthma, with poor youth and youth of color disproportionately affected. It's been estimated that asthma-related healthcare costs is $50 billion annually.

EPA Lisa JacksonBut more than the data, it was very moving to hear stories from EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson (pictured at the left), Secretary Shaun Donovan and Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about their own children and family members who suffer from asthma. Their passion and personal missions were well articulated and made the launch even that more important for all the attendees in the room.

While sometimes it may seem like we're not making progress on climate change or affecting people's lives, yesterday was an example that indeed, we are. The victories from our Beyond Coal Campaign are saving lives every single day, and seeing the Obama Administration commit to reducing asthma's ethnic and racial disparities for our children is reassuring.

It's good to see the Obama Administration stepping up to deal with these unprecedented issues to protect our health and protect our children.

-- Quentin James, Director of the Sierra Student Coalition

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