Michele Bachmann - Caricature

Michele Bachmann - Caricature by DonkeyHotey

Representative Michele Bachmann kicked off her presidential campaign last night, and it didn’t take her long to take an extreme position: Bachmann, a Tea Party favorite, called for the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency and labeled it “a job-killing federal agency.” This fringe position shows how willing she is to ignore the facts.

The Environmental Protection Agency has been protecting public health and the environment since its inception forty years ago under President Nixon. By providing realistic safeguards for our health, it helps us be more productive and suffer less illness. That means a stronger economy with fewer days of work lost. That’s real money. For example, the Clean Air Act has prevented an estimated 160,000 deaths in 2010 alone, and the benefits reach approximately $2 trillion in 2020.

The public understands the importance of the EPA’s work: More than 77% of Americans — including 61% of Republicans – say “Congress should let the EPA do its job.”

According to the American Lung Association, Bachmann’s home county has a ozone grade of “C”, and there are more than 4,200 children suffering from asthma, and more than 7,400 people suffering from chronic bronchitis. These are people hurt by the pollutants that the EPA is working to reduce, and it’s still got more work to do.

It bears noting that one of the country’s most polluting power plants is in her district, and it it has  been linked to air pollution, water pollution, and illness. This air pollution affects local communities, and USA Today has useful data on the local schools’ poor air quality.

Contrary to what Rep. Bachmann suggests, putting proper pollution controls in place saves lives and creates jobs.

When I see a politician making decisions that are bad for their constituents, I always go to look at their donors. Turns out that Rep. Bachmann has received donations from the PACs of Xcel Energy (which owns that dirty power plant), Koch Industries, and Exxon Mobil.

It’s unfortunate that Rep. Bachmann’s presidential campaign is off to such a wrong-headed start. I hope she’s able to re-examine her position and start making better decisions in the days ahead.

Heather Taylor-Miesle NRDC Action Fund

Heather Taylor-Miesle NRDC Action Fund

Heather Taylor-Miesle is the Director of the NRDC Action Fund. With more than 13 years of experience in federal politics as a public interest lobbyist, political consultant and on Capitol Hill, she has expertise in federal energy, environmental health, and appropriations issues. Prior to becoming director of the NRDC Action Fund, Ms. Taylor-Miesle was the associate legislative director at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), one of the world’s premier environmental organizations. Prior to her position at the NRDC, Ms. Taylor-Miesle worked on Capitol Hill, first as an aide to now Governor Ted Strickland (D-OH) and then as a senior staff member for current Labor Secretary, Hilda Solis (D-CA). Follow Heather and NRDC's Action Fund on Facebook(www.facebook.com/nrdcactionfund).