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Connecting health outcomes to climate solutions and lower utility bills, Engagement Center finding success near Boston's troubled 'Mass and Cass' and more protections coming for PA Children's Service providers.

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Georgia breaks a state record for early voting, Democrats are one step closer to codifying same-sex marriage, and Arizona county officials refuse to certify the results of the midterm elections.

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EPA Takes On Carbon Polluters: This Week's Hot Topic in VA

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Monday, March 12, 2012   

RICHMOND, Va. - Smog and carbon pollution from power plants and their effects on health are hot-button issues with politicians, lobbyists and scientists these days. They are expected to heat up even more in Washington, D.C., this week when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to release new rules for coal-burning power plants that limit the amount of pollution new facilities can emit.

Glen Besa is the Sierra Club's Virginia Chapter director. He says carbon pollution creates smog, which has been shown to be a serious public health issue.

"That smog is a principal cause for asthma attacks among children and also for hospital visits among adults who suffer with bronchitis, emphysema, adult asthma or a variety of other lung illnesses."

According to the Centers for Disease Control, close to 25 million people live with asthma in the U.S.

If the new EPA rules are implemented, Besa says the new power plant proposed in Surry County by Old Dominion would have to comply. He adds that while the new standards would likely cut emissions by about 50 percent in new power plants, they would not affect existing plants in Virginia.

"There are a number of existing coal-fired power plants, several of which are slated to be retired, fortunately. This is the first time that the EPA has regulated industrial carbon pollution."

Opponents of the new EPA regulations cite job losses and higher energy prices as their prime concerns. Besa says human and environmental health should come first, adding that a push for more alternative energy sources will create jobs.

The Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council have launched an advertising campaign in Virginia and other key states about the connections between carbon pollution, asthma and related illness.



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