Letter: American Jobs Act must include critical climate legislation
As a health professional living in Steamboat Springs, I see the increasingly detrimental health effects of climate change. Last year, we watched wildfires rip through nearly 700,000 acres of our communities in what became the worst season for wildfires in Colorado’s history. This year, we have already seen five fires, with presumably more to come.
Wildfire smoke is an increasing health threat to which children are particularly vulnerable for both physiological and behavioral reasons. There are an estimated 7.4 million children affected by wildfire smoke in the U.S. each year, and the increase in fires over the past few years suggests this number has only grown larger. When fires hit the Western Slope, thousands of children have school canceled, many are displaced from their homes, and our communities breathe in hazardous air for sometimes months on end.
The wildfire mitigation efforts moving forward at the state level will not be enough. Addressing the issue on a larger scale is a necessity, and Sens. John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet have the chance of a lifetime right now with the American Jobs Plan. In the plan, we have a critical window of opportunity to pass bold climate, jobs and economic investment legislation that responds to the interwoven crises facing this country. We need immediate action that will build a more just, equitable, clean and more prosperous economy for our children, the future generation of leaders of this great state and nation.
I urge you to please tell Hickenlooper and Bennet to be bold and not pass the American Jobs Plan without the critical climate legislation fully intact. I am thankful to have learned about advocacy working with Healthy Air & Water Colorado and the American Academy of Pediatrics, Colorado Chapter.
Katie Durrwachter Erno
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