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Poll: The EPA, Not Congress Should Determine Air Pollution Standards

October 24, 2011

DES MOINES, Iowa - A new poll suggests Congress should butt out when it comes to air pollution standards in America. J. Drake Hamilton with Fresh Energy says its survey found that 75 percent of voters want the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be in charge, as it has been for decades.

Public health protections are currently under attack by some in Congress who want to delay requirements that coal plants get updated pollution control equipment. The poll found that clean air is not a partisan issue, she says.

"Eighty-eight percent of Democrats, 85 percent of Independents and 58 percent of Republicans oppose Congress stopping the EPA from setting new limits to control air pollution from coal plants."

Hamilton says some of Iowa's coal plants were built a half-century ago or more, and they're sending mercury, carbon dioxide, ozone and particulate pollution into the air and water. She says that is having an impact on health in the state, where more than 200,000 residents suffer from asthma - one fourth of them children.

"The pollutants from these coal-fired power plants are triggering more asthma attacks, hospital visits, and - for people with respiratory disease - in some cases, premature deaths. We think this is unacceptable, and it turns out the voters, too, overwhelmingly support stronger health-based rules."

Hamilton points out that the last time the Clean Air Act was updated was 21 years ago.

More information on the poll can be found at http://fresh-energ.org. The poll was conducted on behalf of the nonprofit environmental group Ceres, www.ceres.org.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - IA