Fighting For Clean Air — Again


By Dominique Browning

A group of us from Moms Clean Air Force recently attended BlogHer, a large conference in San Diego. Moms Clean Air Force set up a booth so we could meet bloggers and talk to them about our effort to fight air pollution. Hundreds of people signed up to join the force. Thanks, everyone!

I was struck by many of our visitors’ comments, which fell into one of two bins.

The women who were in my generation and older said, What? I can’t believe we have to fight this fight all over again. Aren’t these attacks on the EPA awful?

Yes. It is incredible, almost surreal. Particularly coming from politicians who have repeatedly requested funds from the EPA themselves. The EPA was set up by President Nixon. It was a bipartisan effort, for Heaven’s sake. What happened to the days when every sane person understood that clean air and clean water were good for human health?

The younger women said, What? Clean air is controversial? How is that possible?

Yes. Clean air is once again something we have to fight for — and fight hard. If you were born in the 80s and onward, you won’t remember what it was like to see news footage of rivers on fire, or how suffocating it felt to live under the blankets of filthy air hanging low over our cities.

The Clean Air Act has done so much to reduce toxins in our air and water. But there’s much more to go. The unfiltered stuff coming out of coal plants is especially dangerous.

And the Clean Air Act has been a terrific contributor to our economy: it has created jobs, and helped spur on a new generation of technologies to provide cleaner fuel. The EPA is about as far from a “job-killing agency” as you can get.

Expect to hear far more of this anti-EPA rhetoric in the coming months, as lawmakers start the grim business of cutting budgets. Polluters will press for gutting EPA funding because that way, no matter what regulations are passed, there won’t be any money to enforce them. The fight will move from regulating to funding. That’s why it is important for everyone to understand how important it is to fund the enforcement of clean air laws.

The fight for the right to pollute is a lethal political game–symbolism run amok. Who pays? Our children, among whom asthma rates and neurological problems are skyrocketing. Both are connected to mercury poisoning.

And here’s an example of strange bedfellows: moms and fishermen. Fishermen are furious about that mercury spewing from coal plants–it ends up in our water. Every water body in America is under some sort of advisory for pollution. Large fish are increasingly contaminated with mercury. That’s hurting the fishing business, and hitting small fisheries hard.

The mercury spewing out of Asian coal plants is an enormous problem, too. That doesn’t mean the U.S. should stop its efforts; it means we should ramp them up. We don’t have the right to demand global change if we can’t clean up at home. American engineering has led the way for decades. This isn’t the time to lose our leadership.

Cleaning up the air and water means creating jobs. Everyone should remember this. Fouling the air and water kills jobs -– and people.

Re-posted from Moms Clean Air Force. Learn more on Facebook.

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Marcus H.
Marcus Hicks6 years ago

So Mark, if the CO2 released from burning coal is simply taken up by plants, then how do you explain the more than 100ppm increase in CO2 in our atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution. Oops, I forgot, the denialist cult don't believe in scientific facts.

Matilda H.
Past Member 6 years ago

Thanks for sharing!

Robert Morrow
Robert Morrow6 years ago

cutting funding from the EPA is great News. In Fact I would love to see the Funding for all these unelected Shadow Government cut by 75%. Take the FDA (which should be called "Murder for Profits Inc.". This along with the other Shadow Government are responsible for deaths and illness and all for profits and power. So when eating your daily bread, I hope that you enjoy your foam plastic and wood allow along with the other 15,000 toxics.

Glenn M.
Glenn Meyer6 years ago

Cutting spending on, so called, entitlements is ineffective for addressing the deficit. Cutting programs that support the low and middle class will further strain both who don’t even receive lower prices as a result of the U.S. job losses and create a disconnect that will end in another financial collapse. The justification for attacking government benefits as opposed to raising taxes is the creation of jobs. But where?

Corporations have over-powered our government which now believes that out-sourcing and off-shoring of U.S. jobs is inevitable and necessary with expectations that the middle class should fall on their swords. It is the underlying cause of the financial collapse and borders on national security with the loss of our middle class tax base. Yet, this nation does nothing, not even demand it be restricted by whatever method. International businesses are doing the UN-AMERICAN activity of destroying U.S. salaries, U.S. businesses that hire in the U.S., and as an end result, destroying the U.S. marketplace while still demanding BUSINESS ENTITLEMENTS and protections for themselves.

Infrastructure spending and tax breaks will not replace enough jobs to keep up with the hemorrhaging loss of U.S. jobs from out-sourcing over seas. Neither party will do anything about it unless we begin grass roots efforts to protest out-sourcing and off-shoring of U.S. jobs. If nothing is done we will deserve what we get and it will get a lot worse before it gets better

Nicole G.
Nicole G.6 years ago

It's been said that "We didn't inherit the earth from our ancestors;we are just borrowing the earth from our children". Greed...Selfishness are what it basically add up to. Mankind has raped and ravaged the land and polluted the earth for financial gain. They've taken without any repercussions. Now man doesn't want to give back some of what they've taken. It doesn't belong to us truly and with their plans there won't be anything left.

When I was child there was a commercial with a Native American. As he stood looking at the land there was one single tear streaming down this strong man's face. I would have to say reflecting back on that image that he foresaw our future.

Jennifer C.
Past Member 6 years ago

Excellent article. Thanks for sharing.

Dave C.
David C6 years ago

GOP literally wants to make people sick....what will humanity eat, breathe, drink...if they and BIG POLLUTION get their way......we the people must stand strong and work to preserve our home for the future from any/all pollution possible....this isn't really our world, but the one we borrow from the future.....

Steven Brewer
Steven Brewer6 years ago

Hey Frank don't try to confuse poor Mark with the real facts, he has enough trouble remembering what Beck wrote on the chalk-board about climate control and it is too hard to see the chalk-board on the radio...

Steven Brewer
Steven Brewer6 years ago

The EPA told Texas it had to do something about it's air pollution. Macho-man Rick Savage ooops I mean Rick Perry told the EPA it could not tell Texas what to do with it's air quality. The guy is as dumb as a box of rocks and someone needs to tell him air does not stay in one state but travels state to state!!

Steven Brewer
Steven Brewer6 years ago

If you want a glimpse of what America would be like if the EPA was completely done away with you need to look no further than at a Texas after 10 years of Governor Perry making Texas more business friendly by doing away with all those pesky environmental regulations.
Texas state rankings for for the following area are:

• Amount of Carbon Dioxide Emissions – 1st
• Amount of Volatile Organic Compounds Released into Air – 1st
• Amount of Toxic Chemicals Released into Water – 1st
• Amount of Recognized Cancer-Causing Carcinogens Released into Air – 1st
• Amount of Hazardous Waste Generated – 1st
• Amount of Toxic Chemicals Released into Air – 5th
• Amount of Recognized Cancer-Causing Carcinogens Released into Water – 7th
• Number of Hazardous Waste Sites on National Priority List – 7th