TESTIMONY FOR EPA LISTENING SESSION ON REPEAL OF THE CLEAN POWER PLAN

— James Fleming, MD
February 21, 2018
Kansas City, MO

Good afternoon and thank you for allowing me to present my concerns about the proposed repeal of the clean power plan.

My name is james fleming and i am a physician specializing in psychiatry, myoffice is based in lee’s summit missouri and i have been practice for 28 years.

As a psychiatrist i bring to this discussion a medical perspective as wellas insights into human psychology and behavior which can lead to denialand deception in the service of short term gain, even in the face ofoverwhelming evidence of serious risk. I believe the proposed repeal ofthe clean power plan is a particularly alarming example of this phenomenon.

From a medical perspective is abundantly clear that we face many healththreats from air pollution all of which are worsened by burning of fossil fuels: obvious direct effects on respiratory function such worsening of asthma, strokes, heart disease but we also know that air pollution cancontribute to dementia. There is new data showing tiny micro particles can actually enter the brain directly through the nose via the olfactory nerve cause neuro-inflammation. We also know that babies born to mothers exposed to higher levels of air pollution have increased risk of developing learning disorders such as adhd and autism.

And we need to acknowledge something else which i am going to refer tothe elephant in the room—actually two elephants: one physical and other psychological:

  1. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from fossil fuels are infact pollutants and that they may be the most dangerous of all.
    Pollutants because of their serious, long term effects they are havingon our climate. There is simply no serious debate among climatescientists about the reality of climate change induced by humanactivity. Period. Climate disruption in the form of increased adverseweather related events such as hurricanes and floods and droughtsand wildfires has been acknowledged by u.s. government scientists.
  2. Second elephant: we need to be cognizant of a phenomenon unique to theunited states: we are the only country in the world with a major political party which denies the existence of human induced climate change. This denial has now formed the basis of policy of the trump administrationincluding someone, who as oklahoma atty general sued the epa 14 times.

This individual also received hundreds of thousands of $$$ in campaigncontributions from the fossil fuel industry and now heads the epa as it’sdirector. This presents both a major conflict of interest and a threat toour public health and national security. I urge my fellow citizensincluding all government employees to recognize and stand against the dangerous policies and urge your leaders to not only retain the clean power plan but propose even better plans which protect our health and our natural environment. 

Thank you