RIGHT TO BREATHE: 50 STATES UNITED

Emily Enderle

We grew up playing sports together in our small town of Covington, OH and my sister's inhaler was a constant companion.

Profession: Environmental Health Advocate
Group Affiliation: Earthjustice

Clean Air Ambassador:

Emily Enderle

Washington, Dist of Columbia

A set of vivid memories from my childhood are of my sister’s panicked expression every time she was suffering from an asthma attack, which unfortunately was a fairly frequent occurrence. We grew up playing sports together in our small town of Covington, OH and her inhaler was a constant companion. Though we lived in a rural town, the air quality was worse than the national average. I didn't realize until later in life how much coal is burned in Ohio and how much cement is produced, how that pollution knows no boundaries and how those smokestacks aren't required by the Environmental Protection Agency to have scrubbers that would reduce pollution.

Unfortunately, those protections have been long overdue. The EPA has finally advanced health-protective standards, but Congress is attacking them. I now have five nephews and nieces and a sixth on the way. One of my biggest fears is that they'll struggle to breathe which is why I work everyday to ensure that they are protected just as the Clean Air Act intended for them to be.

In Washington D.C., we get a lot of pollution that floats into our airspace from other parts of the country, including the Ohio Valley. Even living hundreds of miles away from my home state, my air quality is still degraded because Ohio and other midwestern states don't have scrubbers on their coal-fired power plants, cement plants and incinerators. In the summer, the combination of the hot muggy weather and settling air pollution often leaves me feeling like I'm trying to breathe while being held underwater.

I want the Obama administration and Congress to support the health-protective standards being set by the EPA. It's been decades since the law directed these health protections to be put in place. The technology to do so is available and yet the biggest polluters continue to emit pollution unchecked. I want our government to make their decisions based on reducing asthma attacks for people like my sister, saving the public money by reducing air pollution related illness and missed school and work days. The time for putting people before industry profits and campaign contributions is now.
 

All Messages: Supporting Our Clean Air Ambassadors.

Go, Emily! Thank you for fighting for all of our environmental rights!

Emily, thanks for sharing your story and for being such a wonderful clean air ambassador. Keep up the awesome work.

Debbie

This is excellent! Hope the big event went well.

I am 77 years old, a young senior in comparison to the age average of 85 in my senior housing. I smoked for over 50 years almost non-stop. I stopped smoking 6 years ago, rather late as the damage was already done. Recently, I suffered an initial emphysema attack, and while I know now that asthma, in many cases is worse, I felt as if I was dying, gasping for air that was not there. Ironically, two weeks before my attack, this past January, I had just attended funeral services for a niece who passed on due to complications caused by emphysema.Prior to this I was very active, volunteering in projects addressing our environment, such as gardening and related. My activity is now considerably less than 50 %, but am doing a bit better. With the help of two inhalers daily, plus one emergency only inhaler, and other meds, I can now walk up to 3 blocks, without pushing it. Just a few weeks ago, I was lucky to walk 1/4 to 1/2 block before wheezing and shortness of breath.
I salute Emily in her efforts to, at least, curb the spread of air pollution. She has taken on a very formidable group of polluters. Just like the tobacco industry, coal mining, and other polluters, has for years been protected by government legislation designed for that purpose, and to this day they will continue to do so ... until they are stopped by people like Emily.

I remember what it was like to play sports and be out of breath, constantly. It makes me happy that there are people with your passion, intellect and dedication working in our nation's capital. Talk some sense into those "representatives of the people"! We need clean air, and they do, too. Hard to think of an issue that should have more common ground.

Emily, you are an inspiration to us all!

Thank you for your dedication, time and effort.

Good luck, Emily!

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