Congressman Whitfield's Troubling Statements about Clean Air Act

January 25, 2011

The COPD Foundation would like to address concerning comments made by Congressman Ed Whitfield in an article in the National Journal. In the article, Whitfield attacked the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new climate regulations and the Clean Air Act, discussed revisions on policy that could have a detrimental impact on those living with COPD, and made troubling comments about COPD and the environment and clean air.

The COPD Foundation’s mission is to serve those diagnosed with COPD, and Whitfield’s comments are not just about being “business friendly” but are about public health as a whole.

According to the National Journal article written by Coral Davenport, Whitfield, a “climate-science skeptic from a coal state,” will chair the Energy and Power Subcommittee and “be at the forefront of a full-throated fight against a slew of major environmental rules and laws.”

From the article:

 Through his [Whitfield’s] career, the oil, gas, coal and utility

 industries have been among the top contributors to his campaign

 coffers. Whitfield is preparing to launch a full-scale attack not just

 on the EPA’s new climate regulations, which kicked off January

 2, but on the very foundations of the 40-year old Clean Air Act

 – a cornerstone of U.S. environmental law. He intends to frame

the landmark law and the new climate rules as attacks on jobs and

the economy.

"The Clean Air Act, which was passed in 1970, was the first national law to control pollutants that endanger health" – which affects the COPD community directly. "In 1990 it was amended to control the acid-rain causing pollutants spewed by coal-fired power plants. In 2009, the EPA determined that the carbon dioxide emitted by power plants, tailpipes, factories and thousands of other entities, contributing to global warming, is also a pollutant that endangers human health," Davenport writes. 

“Whitfield said that one of his specific targets in the clean air law is a tenet-cherished by environmentalists-called New Source Review. Under the law, new polluting entities, such as coal-fired power plants, oil refineries, or manufacturers, must receive a permit before building a polluting source,” Davenport writes. “Whitfield said he expects to hammer home the idea that the clean air rules are hampering the economy.”

“’The whole issue is not just jobs and the economy but how competitive we are in the global marketplace. This is a much broader issue than the health of the American people and the lungs and emphysema; it’s how we can balance that in the global marketplace for jobs.’”
About the COPD Foundation
The COPD Foundation is dedicated to developing and supporting programs which improve the quality of life through research, education, early diagnosis, and enhanced therapy for persons whose lives are impacted by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The COPD Foundation has several programs dedicated to informing, empowering, educating, and engaging individuals affected by COPD, including both diagnosed and undiagnosed individuals, their families and friends, and their medical professionals. For more information, please visit:

About COPD
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and the only chronic disease growing in mortality. It affects approximately 24 million Americans but only 12 million are diagnosed. COPD includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and adult onset (refractory) asthma. Symptoms include breathlessness, wheezing, and chronic coughing. For more information about COPD, visit or call 1-866-316-COPD (2673).