We have only a few days to take action to support the “Good Neighbor Rule”.
It’s a brilliantly sunny day. You’ve just pulled clean white sheets out of your front-loading, water-saving washing machine, and hung them on the clothesline to dry.
Next door, your neighbor turns on his Super Duper Soot Spraying Machine.
The breeze picks up. Within minutes your sheets are gray. You’re coughing. Your baby is wheezing, on the verge of an asthma attack. Back inside, everyone, you say. Making such a dangerous mess ought to be against the law!
There’s a new air pollution law designed to protect states from pollution coming from power plants in neighboring states. The EPA’s Cross State Air Pollution Rule is truly a “Good Neighbor Bill.” It will require polluting states to take responsibility for cleaning up their mess, instead of dumping it all over their neighbor’s clotheslines–and all over children in schoolyards, houses, and gardens.
It is now in danger. Freshman Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has introduced a resolution that would not only block the “Good Neighbor Rule,” but it could prevent EPA from ever issuing a similar rule again.
They say good fences make good neighbors. Air doesn’t recognize fences or respect state borders, of course. Good laws make good neighbors, when it comes to keeping air and water clean. The Cross State Air Pollution Rule is designed to help downwind states protect their communities from smog and soot pollution blowing in from power plants in upwind states.
A vote on his deadly bill could come anytime soon. If Senator Paul has his way, states that want clean air won’t have any control over what’s blowing their way.
*This means that asthma rates will continue to skyrocket–in states that can do nothing to control pollution blowing in from neighboring coal plants.
*This means that millions of children will continue to miss school days because of respiratory illness–in states that can do nothing to control pollution blowing in from neighboring coal plants.
*This means that mercury poisoning will continue–in states that can do nothing to keep their water from being contaminated by pollution blowing in from neighboring coal plants.
The “Good Neighbor Rule” protects states that are doing everything they can to keep their children safe by keeping their air clean.
You will be in good company supporting this rule. Amazingly, several major utility executives–including the CEO of Exelon–America’s third-largest utility–have urged EPA to implement the rule; they say the grid will remain reliable, and the health benefits of reducing emissions will outweigh the costs of implementing the technologies, which they calculate to be modest. For real utility wonks (and I’m becoming one!) there’s a terrific interview with Exelon CEO John Rowe in the Wall Street Journal.
“The current leadership of EPA rightly or wrongly, largely rightly, sees cleaning up the energy fleet as its reason for being,” he says. “People with the old coal plants are gaming the system.”
Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander has also announced that he will not support the Paul effort. But we cannot just assume that “The Good Neighbor Rule” is safe. The potential votes right now look too close for comfort. Alexander says the “Good Neighbor Rule” is reasonable.
Senator Paul is corralling support for his attack on the “Good Neighbor Bill” in the Senate right now. He is planning to bring his bill up under a sneaky, hardly used legislative procedure that can shut down debate and fast track action in the Senate. He wants to protect polluters’ right to pollute!
That’s why your Senators need to hear from you today.
Urge your Senators to REJECT the Rand Paul Clean Air Assault.
Urge your Senators to SUPPORT the Good Neighbor Bill–the Cross State Air Pollution Rule.
Parents teach our children to be good neighbors. Time to teach our politicians the same lesson.
Tell Washington: Listen to your mothers!