Eshoo, Thompson Introduce Legislation to Address Public Health Effects of Wildfire Smoke

July 22, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Reps. Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) and Mike Thompson (CA-05) introduced the Smoke Planning and Research Act, legislation to help state and local governments protect their communities from the public health risks of 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,” said Rep. Eshoo. “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.”

“Thank you to my colleague Representative Anna Eshoo for spearheading the introduction of the Smoke Planning and Research Act. Sadly, fire season in our district and our state has gotten more and more serious each year. It’s important we understand the impact of wildfire smoke on our communities and develop a plan for future fires. This bill, which I coauthored, will allow researchers to conduct a study on this issue so we can respond with efforts such as creating shelters for populations that are at critical risk during fires and ensuring schools have the filtration systems needed to stay open safely,” said Rep. Thompson.

The Smoke Planning and Research Act would provide federal funding to help communities research, develop, and implement plans to help mitigate wildfire smoke by:

  • Establishing four Centers of Excellence at institutions of higher education to ensure that research is responsive to the challenges that people face on the ground.
  • Authorizing $20 million in research funding through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to study the public health impacts of wildfire smoke and effective responses.
  • Creating a grant program at EPA to help local communities plan and respond to wildfire smoke.