Washington, D.C.– Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the smog that is lowering air quality in the northeastern United States and the risks it poses. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
This morning, our nation’s capital – and much of the northeast, including almost the whole of my state, New York –woke up once again under a veil of smog. As we speak, wildfires of unnatural strength continue blazing in Canada, sending toxic air and smoke over the border and over American cities. Today, I am sad to say, New York City, which usually has good air quality, has some of lowest air quality in the world thanks to these wildfires. And the problem is even worse in upstate New York.
I urge every single American and Canadian impacted by the smoke to take precautions to stay safe and follow public health guidelines in their communities.
These Canadian wildfires are truly unprecedented, and we cannot ignore that climate change continues to make these disasters worse. Warmer temperatures and severe droughts mean forests burn faster, burn hotter, and burn bigger. And the warming is happening at a faster pace in countries with higher latitudes. None of this – none of this – is coincidence.
This smoke and fog over New York and the rest of the Northeast is a warning from nature that we have a lot of work to do to reverse the destruction of climate change.
Every time we see a wildfire in Canada or in the West, or a monstrous hurricane in the Southeast, or a blizzard in Texas, it’s a reminder that time is short to reverse the impacts of a warming planet.
And Democrats are proud of the progress we’ve made to accelerate America’s transition to clean energy through the Inflation Reduction Act, but both parties, both parties, have an obligation to do more.
The work to protect our climate is far from over, and we are dangerously behind. Again, I am proud of the historic work Democrats did last year to move us in the right direction, but I implore my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to look up at the smog today and recognize we must, we must, do more.
At the top of the list is a good transmission bill, which will greatly enhance our nation’s ability to bring clean energy like wind and solar to large population centers, and reduce the carbon that is thrown into the atmosphere.