RIGHT TO BREATHE: 50 STATES UNITED

Allison Kellenberger

When I started in the intensive care unit 18 years ago, I saw many asthma patients come in, and some of them left in body bags.

Profession: Registered Nurse
Group Affiliation: American Nurses Association

Clean Air Ambassador:

Allison Kellenberger, RN

Columbia, Missouri

In my job as a registered nurse, breathing is on the "assess first" list. If you can't breathe, there is nothing more to do to save your life. As nursing students, we were told not to wear cologne or strong scents in our profession because it could harm patients if they breathe it. When I started in the intensive care unit 18 years ago, I saw many asthma patients come in, and some of them left in body bags. I never realized how deadly a disease it could be.

Then, 15 years ago, my son was diagnosed with asthma and I watched him struggle with it for the first 10 years of his life. Asthma affects more and more people each year and why? Because the air we breathe is more and more polluted.

I work for the University Of Missouri health care system and the coal burning plant that powers the university is on the edge of campus, only three blocks from our hospital and within 2-3 miles of the other three hospitals in town. Our city also has a coal-burning plant that is within the city limits. That means we have not one, but two plants in a city of fewer than 100,000 people.

I see the exhaust from the stacks almost every day. In the winter I see the cinders from the coal waste thrown on our streets, carried into homes and hospitals on our feet and washed down to our water source from the run-off in our streets.

I also work with a local agency called Missouri Rural Crisis Center, which is a group of farmers fighting for the small independent farmer. One of the issues they fight against is confinement feed operators in our state. These operations are deadly to anyone working in them or living near them. People that have farmed and lived in the rural community can no longer sit outside in the warm weather due to the lung-searing smell from large feed lots. Their children get sick and their property is devalued. Feed lot operators continue to lobby our state representatives to decrease the pollution standards and the fines they have to pay when they fail to obey the Environmental Protection Agency's health standards.

I want President Obama, members of Congress and EPA officials to get out of their offices and breathe the air! See where the smells are coming from and investigate why companies are not made to comply with the standards. If I break the speed limit and put others in danger, I have to pay for that. Why then do the big companies that put millions of lives in danger only get weaker standards and small fines? Obey the Golden Rule!
 

All Messages: Supporting Our Clean Air Ambassadors.

hay mom just want to say how proud i am of you for sticking up for what you belive in! i hope you always continue to do what you can for us and others. love you<3 hana

I want President Obama to keep on keeping on and not let big business control our air by being the $$$ behind the decisions our legislators make based on the $$$ they receive from big business. Once again middle America is left without an advocate. We need an advocate for clean air and control on large industrial farms for middle america in the white house.

I hope your input on this matter will send a message to those in Washington, that enough, is enough! Good luck.....

Thank you, Allison!!!! You are my shining beacon for healthful living. Your voice will be heard and I know your well spoken talk will be received and registered in the brains and hearts of those who listen and understand the needs of real people and the Earth. Blessings!

This is an important issue. Keep up the good work. All of us who have breath thank you.

Thanks for all your hard work, standing up for what's right, and fighting the good fight. Good luck in DC, and travel safely home.

If we could filter the air in the whole outdoors we wouldn't have to worry about this. But we can't do that. Thanks for bringing this up.

Thanks, Allison! I have asthma and have lived in St. Louis all my life, which has very low quality air. Now I live in Columbia as a student and still experience health problems because of the pollution from the coal plants and automobiles. Thank you for talking representing Missouri and please voice our concerns!

Allison thank you for going to bat for clean air and a clean planet. This is our home and we must take care of it. I am proud of you for taking the time to take on this battle for us! Go get em!

Thank you Allison for fighting for us and our future. Good luck and may your words speak to the heart of all who hear them.

Allison -- You are a smart cookie and a fighter! Thank you for putting those two gifts together and being a voice for all of us... and Mother Earth. Rock on.

I am going to go talk to the EPA this afternoon. Give me your concerns!

While the debate rages over our national debt,some see this debate as an opportunity to attack the E.P.A and clean air and water standards.My question to those who would loosen these standards.By what right do you poison this nation now and for years to come for anyone's short term gain? Our right to breathe clean air to drink clean water and to eat food grown in unpolluted soil is superior to any other claim.As this claim protects future prosperity, and possibility as well as improving living conditions here and now.Nothing else so proclaims love of the country and it's future than its protection from all treats that would defile and destroy it.

Thanks to all of you for the support and posts!!
I am here in DC now and I hope I can do something to help all of us and our planet! Wish me luck!
Allison

Thank you for your dedication, time and effort.

Thank you for the work you're doing!

Thank you for your hard work and good luck in the future. We need people who will work towards cleaning up our environment.

More and more children are being diagnosed with asthma---these big companies need to be held responsible for their own pollution. Thank you

A couple of weeks ago my 8-year-old grandson and I were getting into my car after a rain. I asked him why my car was so dirty. He told me it was because of all the crud in the rain.
Later he wanted to know where we are going to live if all our "neighborhoods" keep getting polluted.
Thank you, Allison, for lobbying for my grandkids who already worry about the effects of air pollution on their futures.

thank you!

Thank you Allison and best wishes!

Allison, you amaze me with your willingness to sacrifice your time and talents on behalf of others. I know that this is precious vacation time from work that you are using to advocate for the rest of us, time that you could be spending elsewhere. Thank you for your commitment and your vision.

I am honored to know a person who always puts her money where her mouth is and stands up for what she believes in. You make me want to be a better person and a better citizen on a regular basis.

I do not think that enough people realize the importance of being able to breathe properly and tend to not acknowledge the discomforts and dangers of having breathing problems such as asthma. I think it is important that people are able to breathe properly and that steps be taken to insure that air remains as clean as possible. Asthma can be lethal as well as just very troublesome to deal with in a daily situation.

thanks!!

Thank you for being our ambassador. I used to live in a large, smog-filled city and suffered from asthma that required occasional trips to the hospital. After moving to Missouri, I found I almost never need to use my inhaler, let alone end up at the ER. It is easy to take clean air for granted and hard to regain it once lost. Let's all do our part to keep Missouri beautiful and safe.

I grew up in St. Louis and suffered from asthma as a child. I know what it is like when you have to have to fight for each and every breath. I also know that a lot more kids suffer from asthma today than when I was young, Things are obviously not getting better. When Claire McCaskill had a chance to vote with the polluters or with our kids on a clean air vote in the Senate this month, she went with the polluters. Allison -- thank you so much for going to DC to set her and the rest of them straight -- our kids should come first. What kind of future does it leave us all if they don't.

Thank you & I hope all people listen to your message. Preventing problems in the first place makes more since than waiting for the disease to show up and then treating it.

Thank you! Why is prevention so difficult a concept for so many people?

Thank you!

Thank you so much for your hard work.

Great.

Thanks so much for your determination and efforts. You are acting for all of us.

Thank you for your work on this Allison. Tell those people in Washington that there a few very important things they need to protect. One of the most important is the air we breathe.

Thank you for representing us, clean air is critical to us and the Earth,.

Having Asthma, I had to move to rural Missouri from the big cities to survive. We must keep the air clean!

Thank you for doing this on behalf of all of us. Please help our legislators to realize that the costs of not acting on the issue of clean air are far greater than the costs of acting.

Thanks Allison!

fellow KC MO resident
Mike

This is shocking.
"People that have farmed and lived in the rural community can no longer sit outside in the warm weather due to the lung-searing smell from large feed lots. Their children get sick and their property is devalued."
Whatever happened to common law?
It's not legal to throw your garbage over your neighbor's fence.

Brian,
HB 209 just went before the Missouri house,passed, and was sitting on Gov. Nixon's desk to either sigh into law or to veto last week. That law put a limit to how many times large confinement feed opperators could be sued for the oder or pollution they put on their neighbors. In the case of Smithfield farms they were sued because of the oder they put upon their neighbors and they failed to follow judges orders to clean up their act. They were sued again and Smithfield farms went to the legislature and got HB 209 to protect them. That is so very wrong on many levels. Please check out http://www.inmotionmagazine.com/rural.html.
Thanks for all your support!!
Allison

I would like my grandchildren to have a better future please work hard to ensure we have a cleaner world to live in

From Springfield, MO. Thank you for all you do. We are with you all the way!

Keep going!!! Nothing is more important than the air we breathe, the water we drink and the safety of the food we eat.

There is nothing more important to us all than the air we breathe; we are in a very fundamental way one with that air.

Great post Allison. You've got my support in Lee's Summit.

Thanks for your efforts, Allison. I'm with you all the way.

good luck!

Go get 'um, Allison! We appreciate your hard work on our behalf!

Good luck, Allison! You've got our support.

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