March 9, 2018

Dr. Robert Gould Testifies for the Clean Power Plan

On February 28th, Dr. Robert Gould testified in favor of the Clean Power Plan at an EPA listening session in San Francisco. His testimony is below.

Good morning. I’m Dr. Robert Gould. After working as a Pathologist for over 30 years at Kaiser Hospital in San Jose, since 2012 I have been an Associate Adjunct Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the UCSF School of Medicine, where I am the Director of Health Professional Outreach and Education for our Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment. I am also a past-President and member of the National Board of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) while serving as President of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of PSR for close to 30 years. PSR represents thousands of health professionals, who speak in the interest of the fundamental health of our patients and the communities we serve. To this end, PSR strongly opposes the repeal of the Clean Power Plan, and we urge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to begin work immediately to fully implement the plan.

The physicians I represent fully understand the deleterious impact of harmful air pollution on human health and development. Major health provider and public health professional organizations have, over many decades, consistently supported strong regulations to reduce environmental exposures that are particularly toxic to vulnerable populations such as pregnant women, children and those facing a variety of socioeconomic stressors in our underserved communities of color.

At the same time, we have recognized the immense co-benefits of cost-effective measures such as the Clean Power Plan — that by curbing power plant emissions we can simultaneously reduce toxic air pollution and the drivers of global warming that represent a profound threat to human health and survival.

We health professionals are thus very concerned that revoking the Clean Power Plan would result in allowing continued air pollution from burning coal that causes over 13,000 deaths and 20,000 heart attacks in the U.S. each year, while contributing 23 percent more carbon pollution from power plants that would spur the dread impacts of global warming. We do not want our communities to also face greater emissions of harmful particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and other hazardous air pollutants, including mercury that comes from power plants. Instead, if EPA heeds our call to fully implement the Clean Power Plan we can prevent 90,000 pediatric asthma attacks, 4,500 premature deaths, and hundreds of thousands of lost work and school days each year.

As a physician and human being who cares deeply about protecting our planet from the ravages of pollution and global warming that in California have been graphically illustrated in the horrific wild fires of last year, I also have a personal stake in this. I want my two grandsons, and all of their generation to have a future to thrive in, not foreshortened by the short-term greed of those who have sought to impede EPA’s clear charge to safeguard our health and the environment that sustains us. So please heed our call to restore your historic commitment to public health and fully implement the Clean Power Plan.