As I reflect on the unveiling of the EPA’s highly anticipated regulations aimed at curbing mercury and other toxic air pollutants from power plants, I unexpectedly find myself with mixed emotions. As a native Ohioan, sister and daughter of two amazing parents, I am thrilled to have witnessed the conclusion to an intense twenty-year debate, resulting in an incredible victory for families across the state of Ohio. I am mystified as to why such a fierce opposition exists in the face of such common sense protections.
As a child growing up in Southeastern Ohio, my devoted mother and father encouraged me to appreciate Mother Nature’s gifts and to acknowledge their limited availability. As a student attending The Ohio State University, I discovered the fundamental relationship between public policy and preserving these gifts. Incredible advances have been made due to historic pieces of legislation, mainly the Clean Air Act-signed by President Nixon in 1970. The Clean Air Act is a landmark piece of legislation that has led to significant environmental and public health benefits across the United States.
As an adult I’ve been given an incredible opportunity to professionally advocate on behalf of America’s children in an effort to defend The Clean Air Act. This experience has called on me to examine the current condition of Ohio’s atmosphere, which I’m sorry to say is quite alarming.
Going forward in the fight for safe and clean air, I suspect opposition will be present every step of the way; several states including Ohio have already brought about a delay in the implementation of critical Cross State Air Pollution standards. Unfortunately these kinds of attacks are likely, especially in the current political climate, which is incredibly partisan.
As I work to inform and engage Ohio moms, I’m reminded of my own mother who felt compelled to teach me that the environment, like a child, isn’t able to defend itself.
We must be a voice for our children, and we must speak for the Earth. Being a good mom and steward of the environment means being an active citizen. I’m fighting for the next generation–and I’m doing it in honor of my mom.