Letter: Bill Schuette is on the wrong side of history

Across the country, our neighbors are witnessing rising sea levels, record breaking wildfire seasons costing millions in damages, water shortages, thousand-year droughts and super-storms that have become more frequent and more intense. Fourteen of the 15 hottest years in history have all occurred in the first 15 years of this century. This March marked the 11th consecutive record hottest month in Earth’s history.

The verdict is in on climate change, and the time to kick the can down the road to the next generation is over.

The EPA’s plan takes a monumental step toward curbing the effects of climate change. It’s estimated that by reducing dangerous carbon pollution, this plan can save thousands of lives and leave millions of Americans less susceptible to air-pollution related illnesses. This is crucial in Michigan where our asthma rate is 25 percent higher than the national average and we rank fifth in the nation for premature deaths, hospital admissions and heart attacks attributed to coal-fired power plant pollution.

The plan also provides each state the flexibility to tailor their individual blueprint for reducing carbon emissions. That’s why a 31 states are already on track to be more than halfway toward meeting their benchmarks.

So at first glance it might be difficult to understand why such a plan is currently under attack by a group of Republican state attorneys general, including our own Bill Schuette. Why would public officials so adamantly attempt to block a flexible, common sense plan that would benefit the health of so many in their states?

Schuette is standing on the wrong side of history. Failing to address climate change will have devastating impacts on our health and our economy, leading to more record breaking extreme weather events. Not to mention that continued unchecked pollution will ensure Michigan’s asthma rates remain high.

I’m adding my voice to the chorus of organizations and majority of Americans supporting this plan because we can be the generation that responsibly addresses climate change instead of standing idly by or in the way.

Charles Griffith, Climate and Energy Director

Ecology Center