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Congressman Brad Schneider

Representing the 10th District of Illinois

Reps. Schneider, Cartwright and Sen. Markey Introduce Bill to Prepare for Health Impacts of Climate Change

September 14, 2017
Press Release
Bill would develop National Strategic Action Plan to prepare for and respond to health effects of climate change

Today, Rep. Brad Schneider (IL-10) joined Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA-17) and Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-MA) to introduce legislation that will help improve America’s public health response to climate change by supporting research, monitoring, and preparation in the health sector and by developing a national action plan. Reps. Doris Matsui (CA-06) and Salud Carbajal (CA-24) also joined in introducing the House bill.

The Climate Change Health Protection and Promotion Act would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services acting through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop a National Strategic Action Plan to assist health professionals in preparing for and responding to the public health effects of climate change.

“Understanding the public health effects of climate change and preparing our health system to respond is a matter of critical strategic importance,” said Rep. Schneider. “As we confront the acute devastation of the recent hurricanes in Florida and Texas, we must also contend with the longer-term threats to our health and wellness posed by a changing climate. This bill is a commonsense step to better understand and address the problem, and I thank Sen. Markey and my colleagues Reps. Cartwright, Matsui, and Carbajal for their leadership on this issue.”

“Hurricanes Irma and Harvey demonstrated the often tragic results of climate change,” said Rep. Cartwright, a vice chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC) and a member of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus. “But climate change doesn’t only appear as a disastrous storm. Climate change impacts our lives daily – from the air we breathe and to the water we drink. We need to take action. This bill is a significant step towards safeguarding our environment and public health, protecting our communities, and saving in health care costs. I look forward to working with my colleagues to improve our nation’s public health response to climate change.”

“Climate change threatens the health of people and the planet,” said Sen. Markey, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee and Chair of the Senate Climate Change Task Force. “Our country is suffering first-hand the effects of storms that are delivering more rain, higher winds, and greater storm surges from rising seas. Climate change gets personal when the risks of food, water and mosquito and tick transmitted diseases increases and air pollution harms lungs. We need to take action to address the health impacts of climate change that are already happening and prepare for those that are coming. I thank Rep. Cartwright for his partnership on legislation that recognizes that we need a national action plan to respond to the public health impacts of climate change.”

This legislation was introduced in advance of the United Nations climate meetings in New York next week.

“Climate change is increasingly a threat to public health,” said Rep. Matsui, a co-chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC). “We need a national program that helps ensure we are prepared to respond to the negative impacts of our changing climate through research, training, and education. This is an important part of our overall work to act on climate and protect the health and well-being of future generations.”

“The threat of climate change to our public health is deeply troubling, but what is even more concerning is our lack of preparedness to keep people healthy in a changing environment,” said Rep. Carbajal. “Increasingly extreme weather events and deteriorating air quality are all contributing to a rise in climate-related illnesses and deaths. It is imperative that we work to reverse this disturbing trend, by providing our public health officials with the resources they need to track and mitigate its impacts.”

Specifically, the Climate Change Health Protection and Promotion Act would:

  • Provide technical support to state and local health departments to develop preparedness plans and conduct community outreach;
  • Enhance forecasting and modeling, track environmental and disease data, and expand research capacity to better understand the relationship between climate change and health;
  • Enhance domestic and international tracking capacity for infectious diseases and environmental health indicators;
  • Develop a coordinated research and preparedness agenda on climate and health.