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These are the facts where I live: An old coal-fired plant, now closed down, left a 50-year legacy of toxic pollution in my community. Wind is blowing toxics from uncovered fly ash dumps into local neighborhoods. Unlined pits containing toxic sludge are leaking into our municipal water supply. Most people don’t even know that they are assuming the risk of this negligence, but if they did, I’m sure they wouldn’t suffer it gladly. To paraphrase the wise Rachel Carson: We are a part of nature, so a war against nature is inevitably a war against ourselves.

Clean Air Ambassador | South Heights, Pennsylvania

Robert Schmetzer

I grew up in a community with an old coal-fired power house. When I was in the Navy and met people from all over, I told the story of never seeing a white snow. They wouldn't believe me. Later, when working as a boiler man on the ship, we blew steam on the fire sides of the boiler tubes at midnight, which is done worldwide.

The plant has since closed down, but left 50 years of toxic waste that needs to be cleaned up. The waste has polluted our municipal water system and most people in the area die early from cancer.

There also is a 147 acre toxic fly ash dump that has closed down in the headwaters, yet there has never been any federal oversight of fly ash dumps and they are leaking.

Realtors are selling the properties without knowing the history. Rogue fly ash dumps that exist are open to the wind blowing toxins across new communities and no one wants to investigate. Homes are built overtop of unregulated fly ash landfills.

All of our present energy sources have waste products that carry trailing maintenance costs for generations. Most are stored in headwaters for drinking purposes. It’s a bad idea that has to change.

All of our present energy sources have waste products that carry trailing maintenance costs for generations. Most are stored in headwaters for drinking purposes. It’s a bad idea that has to change.

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.