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Pollution from the coal-fired power plant in the background of this photo has contaminated the air, water and soil around my home. We’ve been working for more than a decade to get the protection from this polluter that we deserve. Though our calls have often fallen on deaf ears, I believe it is the responsibility of those who are aware of these travesties to do all that they can to spread the word and advocate for a better quality of life for us and for future generations.

Clean Air Ambassador | Town of Pines, Indiana

Cathi Murray

My husband and I moved to the Town of Pines, Indiana, in 1990 when we bought our home and began our family. We never expected that our beloved Town would become an Alternative Superfund Site in 2001. Town of Pines is located in northwest Indiana about one mile from Lake Michigan. The area is welcoming, peaceful, and picturesque; the perfect place to raise a family.

However, our groundwater, surface water, soil, and air has been contaminated by coal combustion waste from a coal-fired power plant located just a few short miles from the town. Not only is this plant's waste spread throughout the town on roads and as fill for low lying areas, it is in a landfill within the town limits that is in contact with an aquifer from which the residents were drawing their drinking water.

The town's residents have been battling with the EPA and state environmental officials in cleaning up this contamination. We have confronted indifference, hostility, and denial of responsibility for the plight of our community. Prior to 2001, coal combustion waste was transported throughout the area in uncovered trucks, allowing the dust to fly. It was spread on roads as a top cover, allowing the dust to fly when a car drove on the road, when someone walked on the road, or when a strong wind would blow.

I have been involved with this battle almost from the beginning. I started as a member of People In Need of Environmental Safety (PINES) since it began in 2001. This group was formed as a way to organize and ensure our community was fairly represented. I am also an elected council member for our town since 2004. I have used my positions in any way I can to promote the cleanup and to protect my community's environment.

I strongly believe that everyone has the responsibility to protect the environment by doing even the smallest of things, like picking up litter and recycling. As adults, we must lead by example so our younger generations understand that when we protect our environment, we help to ensure a better quality of life for ourselves and future generations.

As adults, we must lead by example so our younger generations understand that when we protect our environment, we help to ensure a better quality of life for ourselves and future generations.

50 States United For Healthy Air

Clean air should be a fundamental right. Air pollution causes asthma attacks, lung disease, and even death. But our bodies don't have to be the dumping ground for dirty industries.

The technology to dramatically reduce harmful air pollution is available today, and major polluters should be required to use it.

Clean Air Ambassadors from every state are sending a powerful message: Everyone has a right to breathe clean, healthy air.

It’s time Congress and the EPA used their ears to help our lungs.