Congress Can Protect Public Health By Renewing the Wind Production Tax Credit
In less than three weeks, American public health could be in jeopardy if Congress doesn't act to renew the renewable energy Production Tax Credits (PTC) that keep the clean energy sector thriving.
As discussed in yesterday's blog, the PTC is one of several tax incentives that invest in job-creating, community-protecting clean energy solutions. Not only has the PTC helped to launch more than 110,000 jobs for Americans in clean energy, but generating electricity from renewable energy rather than fossil fuels offers significant public health benefits.
Did you know that the air and water pollution emitted by coal and natural gas plants is linked to breathing problems, neurological damage, heart attacks, and cancer? Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy has been found to reduce premature mortality and lost workdays, and it reduces overall healthcare costs.
Currently, 2.5-3 million people worldwide, including nearly one million children younger than five, die prematurely each and every year from air pollution caused by the burning of biofuels and fossil fuels. Millions more become ill due to respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease, asthma, pneumonia and other diseases exacerbated by air pollution.
According to a recent study published in Nature Climate Change, up to three million premature deaths could be avoided globally each year by 2100 if aggressive emissions cut are made. Shouldn't Congress focus more on keeping the American people safe, rather than helping to fill the overflowing pockets of big coal, gas, and oil corporations with profits that come at a social cost?
In addition to preventing adverse effects on air quality, wind and solar energy require essentially no water to operate and therefore do not pollute water resources or strain supplies by competing with agriculture, drinking water systems, or other important water needs, unlike fossil fuels.
Congress has the power to continue keeping us safe - all they need to do is renew the PTC that will promote clean energy investments that are already in place.
-- Rudhdi Karnik, Beyond Coal Campaign Media Assistant