What is the state of your air?

This blog was written by Jennifer Rennicks, former Senior Director of Policy & Communications at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

Guest Blog | April 28, 2011 | Energy Policy

Yesterday, the American Lung Association released the 2011 State of the Air – a report card on air pollution in communities across the nation. Although this year’s report shows that air quality has generally improved over the last few years in most parts of the country, many of our Southeastern states fail to make the grade and air pollution lingers as a widespread and dangerous reality.

For example, Tennessee couldn’t scrape a grade above Ds and North Carolina has more counties with Fs than all other grades put together. In fact, Charlotte, NC captured a spot on the list of Top Ten Polluted Cities for ozone pollution. As the mother of an asthmatic child living in Western North Carolina, a little girl who has worn a nebulizer just like the one pictured below and who is subject to air pollution from both of these states simply by her geography, I find these statistic disheartening at best and deeply troubling at worst.

Incredulously, some are seeking to weaken public health laws that have improved the air we breathe. When Congress attempted to rollback public health protections provided by the Clean Air Act with budget votes earlier this month, only a minority of our Southeastern Senators and Representatives voted to maintain these important protections.  Fortunately, attempts to delay or rollback this law will not advance at this time, but proponents say they will continue their efforts against the CAA in this Congress.

Passed with overwhelming bipartisan Congressional support in 1970, the Clean Air Act has enabled the U.S. to cut emissions of the six most widespread air pollutants by 60 percent and saves the lives of over 160,000 people each year. SACE joins with the American Lung Association and other allies in the Healthy Air Campaign to defend the ability of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to enforce the Clean Air Act – please help us in supporting these efforts.

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