Clean Air: How The States Stack Up

BY ON October 12, 2011

 Katy FarberHave you ever wondered how the Clean Air Act protects the health of the people in your state? Find out with this tool from the EPA. You’ll see why the Clean Air Act is so important to the health of your friends, neighbors and family.

The Clean Air Act is one of the most successful public health policies of all time.

This is legislation that literally saves lives. It promotes public health – lessening the spending of health care dollars, and increasing human productivity. Imagine that.

In 2010 alone, reductions in fine particle and ozone pollution under the Clean Air Act prevented an estimated:

*160,000 cases of premature mortality

*130,000 heart attacks

*86,000 hospital visits

*13 million lost work days

*1.7 million asthma attacks

Those numbers can be a lot to take in…and a lot to imagine. Bringing these facts and data home can make it more meaningful in terms of how the actions of our leaders are fundamentally affecting the health of our fellow Americans.

Air Pollution In My State of Vermont

In my home state of Vermont, we have no active coal-fired power plants. That does not mean we are immune to the devastating toxic effects of this polluting industry. Pollution knows no state boundaries, and our neighboring state of New Hampshire was named a top 10 toxic state for air pollution recently by the NRDC.

How does this impact us? Every body of water in the state of Vermont has a mercury warning. It’s not advised for people, especially pregnant women, to eat fish from Lake Champlain.

That’s why the The Cross State Pollution Rule, recently released this fall, is crucial. According to the EPA:

“The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) will help ensure that Vermont families aren’t suffering the consequences of harmful air pollution generated far from home. The rule, which goes into effect on March 1, 2013, slashes millions of tons of smokestack pollution that can lead to premature death, heart attacks, bronchitis and asthma.”

This rule will improve air quality in Vermont and prevent up to 44 fewer premature deaths each year.

Here’s the significant health care dollar savings (which unfortunately seem more important to many than the number of lives saved):

Vermont would save between $140 million and $360 million each year.

The CSAPR is in the cross hairs of big industry, the Republican presidential candidates, and many corporate, big oil lobbyists. But in my state of Vermont, this rule would save 44 lives each year…

  • 44 Vermonters would continue living in our great state.
  • 44 fellow Vermonters would see another beautiful fall, rant about the snow totals and ice storms, feel the relief and verdant beauty of spring, and bask in another short but life affirming summer.

How can anyone put a value on that?

The Mercury Air Toxics Rule, once in place, would start to turn back the toxic effects of mercury in our area. As a result of this rule, we would see less contamination of our waters, our foods, and our babies.

Would that mean that my children could fish from Vermont’s streams and rivers? Would that mean they wouldn’t have to worry about the effect of mercury on their children?

What are these things worth to you…to your friends, neighbors and families living in your state?  What do you have to gain from supporting the Clean Air Act? What do you have to lose if we let it crumble?

Check out the public health benefits of the Clean Air Act in your state and please join the Moms Clean Air Force to protect your friends, neighbors, and family members from the hazards of polluted air.

TOPICS: Activism, Asthma, Coal, Politics, Pollution