Fighting Back for Clean Air and Water
During the past week we’ve seen people across the country standing up to support the Environmental Protection Agency’s safeguards for public health.
Many polluters and public officials don’t want the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address threats such as air toxics, soot and smog, coal ash, global warming, and water pollution.
Thankfully, that didn’t stop EPA from doing their job to protect our health and safety. On Wednesday, they issued long-overdue new health standards that will finally limit mercury and other air toxics from thousands of industrial boilers, including those found on college campuses. EPA estimates the new standards will create 2,000 new jobs, will save 2,600 – 6,600 lives per year by 2014, and will prevent 42,000 asthma attacks and 4,100 heart attacks every year.
There is more to the story though – the final rule proposed by EPA is weaker than their initial proposed rule, and many health advocates worry the EPA backed down from the stronger standards due to heavy pressure. That’s why people across America are standing up and fighting back.
In just the past week:
- Minnesotans hand-delivered 4,000 postcards this week to Senator Amy Klobuchar, urging her to support strong EPA rules that will save lives.
- In Montana on Monday, more than 600 people rallied at the state capitol to defend clean air and water protections.
- In Colorado, residents have planned rallies for Saturday in Denver and Boulder to fight back and defend clean air and water.
- In Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington, DC, hundreds of citizens packed EPA listening sessions to call for strong greenhouse gas standards.
- In Washington State, 500 people descended on the state capitol to support measures to protect health and the environment, including the retirement of the state’s only existing coal plant.
- In Seattle, the Dean of the University of Washington School of Public Health wrote a strong opinion piece in the Seattle Times supporting the shutdown of the Washington coal plant because of the serious health effects of burning coal. He wrote, “As a public health measure, this is a no-brainer – right up there with treating high blood pressure, immunizing children and assuring clean water and safe food.”
These are just a few examples of the people who are standing up, from coast to coast, and fighting back for clean air and water. Americans support EPA’s work to protect public health and the environment. In the 40 years since Americans demanded its creation, EPA has saved millions of lives by enforcing clean air and water standards. More than 1.7 million asthma attacks and $110 billion in healthcare costs were avoided in 2010 alone thanks to the agency’s efforts.
We can’t take this progress for granted. We must all join together and make our voices heard if we want to ensure another 40 years of strong safeguards for the health and safety of our families.
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