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Underwood bill to tackle public health effects of climate change

Lauren Underwood
Lauren Underwood

U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, introduced legislation to reinstate a program to help state and local governments prepare for the public health consequences of climate change.

The Climate and Health Protection Act would reinstate the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Climate and Heath Program which, until last year, was the agency's only office dedicated to helping state and local governments prepare for such issues, according to a news release.

"Despite the (Trump) administration's efforts to undermine the impacts of climate change, we cannot ignore the serious environmental, economic and public health risks that pose a grave threat to all of us," Underwood said in the release.

Underwood pointed to record flooding and rainfall which has impacted farmers across the Midwest.

The bill would codify the program's core functions of translating climate change science for state and local governments and health departments, and to serve as a credible leader in planning for the public health impact of climate change.

The legislation would also authorize $15 million in annual appropriations for the program and prohibit the transfer of funds or reprogramming.

"Almost daily we are seeing climate change-fueled catastrophes across the country, and they are harming low-income communities and communities of color first and worst," Underwood said. "And climate change poses grave threats to public health beyond the flooding, storms and wildfires."

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