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VA Moms: No More Gratuitous Pollution on our Watch

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June 19, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. - Mothers are united in Virginia and around the nation in a push for clean air now and for generations to come. A group called MomsRising is speaking out about a Congressional Review Act resolution in the U.S. Senate that aims to overturn EPA limits on mercury and other toxins released by coal-fired power plants, toxins that experts say are linked to cancer, asthma and heart disease.

Kim Meltzer, a Charlottesville mother who has rushed her two-year-old son to the ER because of asthma attacks, hopes politicians will do the right thing for those who don't have a voice in Washington.

"I'd like the environment to be one in which my children and all people can live in and not worry about breathing toxic fumes."

Those in favor of eliminating pollution restrictions cite job losses and rising consumer energy costs as primary reasons.

However, John Walke, the clean air director with the Natural Resources Defense Council, says these arguments do not hold any weight.

"When you clean up a dirty power plant, you're giving thousands of workers jobs to construct pollution controls, to install pollution controls, and to continue to operate those pollution controls as long as the plant operates."

The EPA has estimated that as many as 15,000 construction jobs lasting several years will result.

Walke says this is a win-win for the American economy and the health of the American people.

"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."

A vote on the Congressional Review Act resolution sponsored by Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe is expected to be voted on in the U.S. Senate Wednesday.

Monique Coppola/Bill De Armond, Public News Service - VA