Ohio Moms Say Toxic Air Rules Needed to Protect Health
June 18, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Some mothers from Ohio and across the country say they are worried about attempts on Capitol Hill to eliminate life-saving clean-air standards. The Environmental Protection Agency Mercury and Air Toxic Standard limits the amount of mercury, arsenic and other toxic air pollutants that can be released by coal-fired power plants - toxins many experts say cause cancer, heart attacks, asthma and other health problems.
Lynne Hewitt, Bowling Green, says her daughter has battled asthma for years. Numerous medical scares have opened her eyes to the dangerous impact of coal-fired power plants, she says.
"Nobody knows 100 percent what causes asthma, but everybody knows that air pollution is a risk factor. So, anything we can do to keep people healthy, to me that's just a no-brainer. Our legislators should be focused on that."
Hewitt is with the group Momsrising, which encourages mothers to speak up about air quality. A Congressional Review Act resolution in the U.S. Senate that would overturn the clean-air standard is sponsored by Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe and backed by 29 others. The measure comes up for a vote on Wednesday, June 20.
Those in favor of the resolution claim the standards will drive up energy costs and eliminate jobs. However, the Clean Air Campaign director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, John Walke, says that's not the case.
"When you clean up a dirty power plant, you're giving thousands of workers jobs. They construct pollution controls, install pollution controls and continue to operate those pollution controls as long as the plant operates."
According to the EPA, the standards could save 11,000 lives annually. Walke adds that with the job creation and the health benefits, these EPA standards are a win-win for the country.
"It's finally time to clean up these dirty power plants. They are being given plenty of time to clean up, and it's a tremendous health gain for Americans that we finally clean up these dirty plants."