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Pallone Requests CDC Briefing on Shuttered Climate Change and Public Health Program

Jul 30, 2019
Press Release

Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) sent a letter to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D., today requesting a briefing following reports that the agency is reorganizing its environmental health division in ways that could diminish the effectiveness of critical public health programs, including the Climate and Health Program.

“I am concerned that these reported actions could undermine this program’s important mission to counter the public health effects of climate change,” Pallone wrote to Director Redfield. “Congress provides funding to CDC for its climate and health efforts, which have successfully provided communities, cities, and states with tools to deal with challenges associated with climate change.  The continued advancement and support of these programs and their vital missions are a priority of this Committee.  Therefore, I request that CDC provide Committee staff with a briefing on these matters.”

The CDC’s Climate and Health Program has worked since 2009 to prevent and adapt to the possible public health effects of climate change.  The program serves as a key office in the national response to climate change, producing assessments of the potential health impacts of climate change such as heat waves, heavy precipitation events, and air pollution.  Late last year, the Trump Administration confirmed rumors to The New York Times that it, “folded its Climate and Health Program into a branch that studies asthma and expunged the word climate from the name of the newly consolidated office.”

Pallone is requesting a briefing from CDC officials on the program changes by August 12, 2019.

Pallone’s letter to CDC is available HERE