Bay Area members of Congress want to study health impacts of wildfire smoke

California

Plumes of smoke and fire rise over a roadway as the Sugar Fire, part of the Beckwourth Complex Fire, burns in Plumas National Forest, Calif., on Thursday, July 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

WASHINGTON D.C. (BCN) – Two Bay Area members of Congress introduced legislation Thursday that would authorize $20 million for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to study the health impacts of wildfire smoke and what can be done to mitigate its effects.

The Smoke Planning and Research Act, introduced by Reps. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, and Mike Thompson, D-Napa, would also create a grant program at the EPA to help at-risk communities plan for and respond to wildfire smoke.

“During last year’s wildfires, millions of Americans were subjected to dirty air and for days, my constituents endured the worst air quality in the world. As climate change makes wildfires more frequent, poor air quality will remain a persistent public health concern in the Bay Area,” Eshoo said. “Our legislation directs the EPA to study the public health impacts of wildfire smoke and provide resources to local governments to mitigate these risks. The communities devastated by wildfires deserve our help to rebuild and better protect the health of their residents during future disasters.”

The bill would also establish four “Centers of Excellence” at universities to ensure the research remains grounded in the issues faced by residents at risk of wildfire smoke inhalation.

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