Statement By Attorney General Spitzer On Medical Study Linking Power Plant Pollution To Higher Cancer Rates

The publication today in the Journal of the American Medical Association of a long-term study linking power plant pollution to higher rates of lung cancer is a clarion call to the Bush Administration to enforce the federal Clean Air Act with new vigor.

The 16-year study of 500,000 American adults by researchers at New York University and BrighamYoung University unambiguously concludes that long-term exposure to air pollution increases cancer risk to the same degree faced by a nonsmoker living with a cigarette smoker.

Old coal-burning power plants -- such as those in the Midwest and New York that I have sued for Clean Air Act violations -- are the largest sources of the type of microscopic particulate pollution cited in the study.

This cancer study establishes beyond all doubt that the federal government must work with the states to enforce the Clean Air Act. Earlier studies showed that enforcement would cut pollution by 60 percent or more -- far more than the Bush Administration’s recent Clear Skies proposal -- and would avoid tens of thousands of early deaths per year from respiratory disease.

I call on President Bush to change course and commit his administration to spirited enforcement of the Clean Air Act in defense of the public health and environment of our nation.