Defund EPA’s enablers: American Lung Association gets big paycheck for backing agency’s agenda

By Steve Milloy
April 1, 2011, Washington Times

NPR is not the only partisan political organization that ought to have its public funding cut. Congress should put the American Lung Association (ALA) on the chopping block, too.

As Congress went on recess last week, the ALA took out billboard advertising in Michigan targeting House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, Michigan Republican. The billboard ad features a child with an oxygen mask over her face and reads, “Rep. Fred Upton, protect our kids’ health. Don’t weaken the Clean Air Act.”

The ALA attacked Mr. Upton because he is leading the bipartisan effort in Congress to block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gases – essentially President Obama’s retaliation for Congress’ “failure” to pass “cap-and-trade” legislation last year.

Although greenhouse gas emissions have nothing to do with air quality – colorless, odorless carbon dioxide is labeled a greenhouse gas and causes no adverse health effects – the ALA is nevertheless trying to stir up hometown opposition to Mr. Upton with its over-the-top attack ad.

This isn’t ALA’s only attack on Congress’ effort to rein in the out-of-control Obama EPA.

At a recent Energy and Commerce Committee hearing to finalize the so-called Inhofe-Upton bill to block EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations, Rep. Lois Capps, California Democrat, used her turn to speak to spotlight an ALA-sponsored poll purporting to show that the public opposed efforts to limit EPA’s authority.

Though ALA no doubt hopes the public believes that efforts to contain the EPA are so dangerous to public health that the self-haloed organization had to get involved, the reality is much less noble.

Since 1990, EPA and ALA have had a symbiotic relationship. EPA shovels money out to ALA and, in return, ALA agitates for expanded EPA air-pollution regulation.

In addition to ads and polls, ALA lobbies Congress for more EPA regulation, has sued to expand EPA’s authority and regularly issues reports that lament supposedly poor air quality in the United States and tout the purported benefits of EPA actions.

We’re not talking chump change. In the past 10 years, EPA has paid ALA more than $20 million – perhaps double the payments that EPA made to ALA in the 1990s. ALA also received another $3.7 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

No doubt, ALA, EPA and the Obama administration will deny any quid-pro-quo relationship between this funding and ALA’s advocacy, but the facts speak for themselves.

Another inconvenient reality for EPA and ALA is that America’s air is safe to breathe – a fact the organizations apparently don’t want Americans to know.

In a JunkScience.com report published in March, “EPA’s Clean Air Act: Pretending Air Pollution Is Worse Than It Is,” we see EPA’s more-stringent-than-necessary air-quality standards are rarely violated.

In states with coal-fired electricity, for example, particulate-matter standards are violated less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the time. Smog standards are violated in those states just about 1 percent of the time.

Because U.S. air is so clean, EPA engages in a sophisticated game of scientific make-believe and economic hocus-pocus to convince Americans that its ever more stringent regulations are worth their high costs.

Further, EPA estimates that its implementation of the Clean Air Act produces economic benefits to society worth on the order of 10 percent of our $14 trillion gross domestic product. Who knew EPA secretly was our golden goose, continually laying golden regulatory eggs?

The EPA-created illusion of health-threatening air quality is being taken to a new level of outrageousness by the ALA through its deliberate confusion of greenhouse gas emissions with conventional air-quality pollutants.

The Inhofe-Upton bill does not roll back existing standards for conventional pollutants such as particulate matter, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Rather, it is aimed at EPA’s self-proclaimed and highly controversial authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

The outlaw EPA has, so far, escaped meaningful oversight by Congress and the courts. Its attack dogs, such as ALA, aim to keep it that way – and keep the cash flowing.

Challenging EPA has not, historically, been a Republican strong suit, but ALA’s ads should make it clear why the course of that sad history needs to be altered.

Steve Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and is the author of “Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them” (Regnery, 2009).

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5 responses to “Defund EPA’s enablers: American Lung Association gets big paycheck for backing agency’s agenda

  1. Curtis Sprissler

    Sorry, but going after the Lung Association is going too far. Pointing out that they may be receiving money to voice a particular opinion is sufficient. Perhaps writing them a letter expressing dismay at their participation in a propaganda campaign would be in order. But to withdraw funding is not something the vast majority of the scientific community, nor the public, would or should support.

  2. Steve Ferrarini

    Curtis,
    Normally I would agree with you about going after a group, such as the ALA, that has done so much good in the past. But, if they, like the AARP, have compromised their principles to enhance their pockets at the expense of their constituents, then it is be time to pull support, and look to support other groups doing good without selling out their people.

  3. The American people, specifically those that vote for Democrats, need to be alerted to the fact that their political party of choice are nothing if not masters at demagoguery, describing all their nefarious public extortion schemes on the manipulation of human emotion. The sick, the old, the indigent, the handicapped, the homeless, the downtrodden, the children; all will suffer, be thrown out in the street, be turned away from hospital emergency rooms, go hungry, be denied any number of basic human rights or die unless this or that new law or regulation is passed; immediately; no time for review; the dangers are imminent and inevitable; just trust them; they have studies by congressional committees, scientists, etc. that convincingly “prove” that inaction is criminal and, in these times, so Republican and always putting the latter in seemingly indefensible and reprehensible positions.

    It’s the oldest scam in the book and those who believe it must be made to realize that they’re being duped, over and over again, ad nauseam. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice I guess I didn’t catch it the first time.

    The EPA has been in business since 1970, going on 41 years. It served whatever useful purpose for which it was initially established, long ago and now survives by ingenious inventions of potential environmental disasters, not to survive but to expand their authority, power and control over ever larger segments of the economy which they continually display absolutely no concern for. They began putting the noose around the neck of the American transportation, energy and industrial sectors, the major users of fossil and nuclear fuels decades ago. Allowed to continue their efforts, unchecked, will spring the trap door and finish the job; kill the goose that lays their golden eggs.

  4. Our organization strongly agrees that the ALA must be defunded immediately. In 1996, The EPA conspired with the ALA and IPAC (the International Pharmaceutical Aerosol Consortium- a group of drug companies serving the asthma/COPD medical inhaler market world-wide) to organize the first ban in medical history of a series of safe, effective blockbuster drugs (albuterol, epinephrine (Primatene Mist), and many others) that had been used for decades, simply because these inhaled drugs used CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) as the propellant, and CFCs, we were told, would destroy the ozone layer and increase skin cancer deaths if they were not globally banned.

    EPA officials at the time (led by Carol Browner, whose husband, former U.S. Rep Tom Downey, was/is a Big Pharma lobbyist) acknowledged that the .5% of global CFC use attributed to CFC medical inhalers world-wide would not, by itself, harm the ozone layer perceptibly. The problem, they said, was that if the U.S. insisted on creating a humanitarian exemption for CFC inhalers in the Montreal Protocol (the treaty that banned ozone-depleting substances, which is enforced in the U.S. by the Clean Air Act), other countries would want to create their own exemptions and the Montreal Protocol would be doomed. (Interestingly, these environmental experts never objected in the slightest- then or now- to the damage done to the ozone layer by civilian spacecraft. Just four space shuttle launches do more harm to the ozone layer than 40 million U.S. asthma/COPD/cystic fibrosis patients using CFC inhalers do in a year- but when was the last time you heard an EPA official complain about the the growing private space travel industry?)

    CFC inhalers were banned not because they perceptibly harm the ozone layer, but because they were about to go generic, and IPAC brilliantly seized the enviromental cover offered by the Montreal Protocol to ban these safe, effective CFC generics and replace them with so-called “environment-friendly” HFA inhalers in order to gouge the world’s respiratory patients with the much more expensive (by several hundred percent) brand name HFA replacement inhalers. (By the way, asthma disproportionately afflicts the poor, as the humanitarians at the ALA well know). Every honest, patient-oriented physician (as opposed to the conflicted, compromised and corrupted physicians-in-name-only who run the medical associations funded one way or another mainly by IPAC member drug companies) admits that the CFC inhalers were much safer and more effective than their HFA replacements. The FDAs own MedWatch data confirms this in a hugely statistically significant way. Virtually all clinical trials clearly show the superior safety and effectiveness of CFC inhalers, despite the fact that most clinical trials were IPAC member-funded jokes, designed to get FDA approval of HFA inhalers as fast as possible per the orders of Carol Browner at the EPA. And the only clinical trials that ever saw the light of day were those that showed HFA inhalers in their most favorable light; we can only imagine how damning the results were that IPAC members hid from public view. (Amazingly, IPAC is now hard at work developing a new miracle propellant designed to replace HFA inhalers when they start to go generic in a few years- once again, in the name of the environment and with the blessing of the EPA and the ALA.)

    The ALA has permanently destroyed its reputation by 1) failing to demand proof from EPA and IPAC that CFC inhaler emissions, in and of themselves, were capable of perceptibly damaging the ozone layer and 2) failing to fight IPAC’s decision that no Phase 4, real world, long term clinical trials comparing CFC to HFA inhalers were to be conducted in the U.S. This is all the smoking-gun proof any fair-minded observer needs to see to conclude that ALA is a phony patient front group serving its EPA/Big Pharma masters instead of fighting for the rights of tens of millions of U.S. respiratory patients (and hundreds of millions world-wide.) Steve Milloy’s revelations about the magnitude of EPA-funded corruption engaged in by the ALA is the icing on the cake.

    We have accumulated thousands of serious medical complaints from patients in the U.S. and all over the world who are suffering and dying needlessly due to this medically, scientifically, and morally unjustifiable ban of CFC inhalers in the name of environmentalism. It is time for the U.S. government to apologize for this horrible injustice to tens of millions of patients, arrange for Honeywell, Inc. to begin production of pharmaceutical CFCs at its Baton Rouge, Louisiana facility (after amending the U.S. Clean Air Act and unilaterally abrogating the relevant provisions of the Montreal Protocol, if necessary), order the FDA to adopt emergency procedures for the fast re-approval of previously approved CFC inhalers, allow for the import of CFC inhalers until U.S. production is sufficient to cover domestic demand in order to prevent as many deaths and severe disabilities as possible due to the use of inferior HFA inhalers, and yes, defund the ALA. It is time for this deadly, criminal patient front group to be sent to the dustbin of history where it belongs.

    Arthur Abramson
    The National Campaign to Save CFC Asthma Inhalers
    http://www.SaveCFC.com

  5. Congrats on your outstanding expose, Steve!

    Would you please make the following three additions in my reply, currently awaiting moderation?

    1) add: “(hydrofluoroalkane)” as shown in the first paragraph, below.

    2) add: “large-scale” as shown in the second paragraph, below.

    3) add this in the second paragraph as shown, below: “(In fact, the corrupt ‘physicians’ running the ALA actually organized a high-pressure agit-prop campaign among its sister patient front groups, ‘professional’ medical associations and environmental extremist groups in an attempt over several years to compel the FDA to expedite the ban of CFC inhalers so that their IPAC masters could start raking in their much greater HFA inhaler profits as soon as possible!)

    Thanks very much, Steve.
    Best Regards,
    Art Abramson
    415-295-4509

    CFC inhalers were banned not because they perceptibly harm the ozone layer, but because they were about to go generic, and IPAC brilliantly seized the enviromental cover offered by the Montreal Protocol to ban these safe, effective CFC generics and replace them with so-called “environment-friendly” HFA (hydrofluoroalkane) inhalers in order to gouge the world’s respiratory patients with the much more expensive (by several hundred percent) brand name HFA replacement inhalers. (By the way, asthma disproportionately afflicts the poor, as the humanitarians at the ALA well know). Every honest, patient-oriented physician (as opposed to the conflicted, compromised and corrupted physicians-in-name-only who run the medical associations funded one way or another mainly by IPAC member drug companies) admits that the CFC inhalers were much safer and more effective than their HFA replacements. The FDAs own MedWatch data confirms this in a hugely statistically significant way. Virtually all clinical trials clearly show the superior safety and effectiveness of CFC inhalers, despite the fact that most clinical trials were IPAC member-funded jokes, designed to get FDA approval of HFA inhalers as fast as possible per the orders of Carol Browner at the EPA. And the only clinical trials that ever saw the light of day were those that showed HFA inhalers in their most favorable light; we can only imagine how damning the results were that IPAC members hid from public view. (Amazingly, IPAC is now hard at work developing a new miracle propellant designed to replace HFA inhalers when they start to go generic in a few years- once again, in the name of the environment and with the blessing of the EPA and the ALA.)

    The ALA has permanently destroyed its reputation by 1) failing to demand proof from EPA and IPAC that CFC inhaler emissions, in and of themselves, were capable of perceptibly damaging the ozone layer and 2) failing to fight IPAC’s decision that no Phase 4, real world, large-scale, long term clinical trials comparing CFC to HFA inhalers were to be conducted in the U.S. (In fact, the corrupt ‘physicians’ running the ALA actually organized a high-pressure agit-prop campaign among its sister patient front groups, ‘professional’ medical associations and environmental extremist groups in an attempt over several years to compel the FDA to expedite the ban of CFC inhalers so that their IPAC masters could start raking in the much greater HFA inhaler profits as soon as possible!) This is all the smoking-gun proof any fair-minded observer needs to see to conclude that the ALA is a phony patient front group serving its EPA/Big Pharma masters instead of fighting for the rights of tens of millions of U.S. respiratory patients (and hundreds of millions world-wide.) Steve Milloy’s revelations about the magnitude of EPA-funded corruption engaged in by the ALA is the icing on the cake.

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