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This photo shows a coal ash storm in my town. This fugitive dust, blown by the wind from the local coal-fired power plant, is full of toxic metals. And I wonder, why do so many children in this area suffer from asthma, immune disorders, rare cancers and other health problems? I became a community activist to do everything in my power to secure a clean healthy environment for children to grow up in.

Clean Air Ambassador | Louisville, Kentucky

Kathy Little

Clean Air is a basic right, but when you live within 100 yards of one of the oldest and filthiest power plants, clean air is non-existent. I can often taste, smell and see the fly ash particulates blowing in the air. The consistency is of talc, the taste and smell is of sulfur. It is difficult to get off of our furniture, and I often wonder what these heavy metal particulates lodged in my child’s lungs are doing to her small body.

Every child in my community is in danger, not just from the thick coal ash that covers everything, but also the high hazard ash pond just 50 yards from my home that might breach. However, we continue to wait without much needed protection.

It’s been 2½ years since former Administrator Lisa Jackson announced that the EPA would pursue federal regulations for coal-ash storage. Delaying a decision and pretending that the danger doesn’t exist is morally wrong. And legislation currently being brought forth depends on the states to make decisions. But do you truly think that the states are capable of providing crucial protection to their constituents? Actions speak louder than words. This is an issue we know how to resolve. It’s political and while this “game” continues to be played out in Congress, every day feels like a year for those of us caught in the middle.

I work for a pro-coal company and it’s not a good situation because of the public stance that I take. But I cannot let that deter me. Martin Luther King said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” I read that quote frequently and know I cannot and have not been silent.

Every child in my community is in danger, not just from the thick coal ash that covers everything, but also the high hazard ash pond just 50 yards from my home that might breach. However, we continue to wait without much needed protection.

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.