RIGHT TO BREATHE: 50 STATES UNITED

Jeremy Nichols

From what I have seen and experienced, the most prosperous communities are the healthiest. Let's keep that trend alive.

Profession: Climate and Energy Program Director
Group Affiliation: WildEarth Guardians

Clean Air Ambassador:

Jeremy Nichols

Denver, Colorado

Living in the Denver metro area of Colorado, I've experienced days when the air quality has been so bad that you can't see the mountains, when the region is blanketed in a suffocating brown cloud, and when just going outside—whether to ride bikes or play on the playground with my nine-year-old son—leads you to taste and feel the pollution whenever you breathe in.

Already, our region is struggling to meet federal limits on smog pollution and as we continue to grow, we are flirting with violating other air quality standards. And while I've been fortunate as nobody in my family has yet experienced serious respiratory conditions, several of my closest friends have such conditions, which flare up whenever the air quality is poor.

Coal-fired industrial sources are of greatest concern. Whether it's the coal-fired industrial boilers at the Coors brewery less than a quarter mile away from my home, the large coal-fired power plants throughout the Denver metro area, or the dozens of other sources that burn coal—including cement kilns—throughout Colorado, I know that these facilities release more toxic air pollution than any other activity in the state. And for my friends throughout the state, I know that these facilities create enormous concern. Whether it's friends in Lyons struggling with mercury and other toxic air pollution from the CEMEX cement plant, friends in Lamar frustrated that a local coal-fired power plant continually fails to meet basic air quality standards, or friends in Pueblo, who were shocked to learn that with the construction of Xcel Energy's 750-megawatt Comanche 3 boiler, the state's largest coal-fired power plant is now right in their backyard, the sentiment seems universal.

My concern is preventing problems. I don't want to wait for my son to come down with asthma before doing something about it. And if we can keep my friends and others from having to suffer through weeks of summertime smog and other unhealthy air quality days, I say, let's make it happen.

I want officials in Washington, D.C. to know that people care. My neighbors may not be speaking out on this issue, but I can tell you that if things get better, if sources of air pollution are held to modern pollution control standards, if the air clears, if the brown cloud goes away, and if our mountains stay visible, they will notice and they will be supportive. To protect our community's right to breathe clean air, we need safeguards that ensure our industries are using the cleanest fuels, the best pollution control technologies, and most importantly, putting public health first. From what I have seen and experienced, the most prosperous communities are the healthiest. Let's keep that trend alive.
 

All Messages: Supporting Our Clean Air Ambassadors.

We also have the pine beetle infestation and wildfires in Colorado. Our aquifers are drying up and drinking water polluted by fracking. Much to be done on a local level.

It's wonderful to be able to thank someone for helping instead of hindering. Personally, I'm fond of breathing, and I think most of us are. So it's hard to understand why clean air should be an issue. But since it is, THANK YOU!

Seems like somebody else's 'right' to make a profit polluting our collective air, land and water, supercedes our right to breath clean air, eat and drink untainted food and water, and the inherant rights of other organisms to live. Capitalism, as it is practiced in the US, is a failure, and is destroying the quality of life for present and future generations.

our health & world matter!

Why is it that politicos don't understand clean air issues? Is it because oxygen has been cut off from their brains, too long?

As a member of the US Army Infantry for over 15-years, I help fight Wildland Fires and I also breathed in the Oil, Smoke and Slut from the Oil Well Fires during Desert Storm. Even today I am experiencing some of the long term effects. Bronchitis and other breathing problems I never experienced before. It is very important to me that my children and grand children have excess to Clean and Healthy Air. After all this is what sustains our life. I can not understand why industries are putting their profits above the safety and security of our nation and our children. Without healthy world citizens who will work for their companies, buy their products or help them make profits? For me, "this is a self defeating strategy for short term gains"! We all know what happened with this short term gains strategy that just about destroyed the world's economies! This strategy will be even more devastating because of health care cost and the loss of life. This is similar to Poisoning Our People which should be a Criminal Offense.

Thank you for what you are doing. I just don't understand how our leaders can vote against clean air which is killing themselves and their families too just for the few bucks they get which is wrong anyway. It is insanity.

I live in Boulder, CO which just got an F rating for ozone pollution by the American Lung Association. My husband and I live next to an expressway where we get an extra dose of pollution. We both try to be healthy and fit by exercising and bike commuting but some days the pollution is so bad that we experience throat and lung irritation or asthma if we exercise outdoors. This must change or we will need to find another area to live away from the Denver Metro area.

Every time I see Denver from a distance I know that pollution is NOT getting to be less a problems. It is brown as far as I can see.

I live in the most pristine part of Colorado and even here, we experience air pollution. Why? We must fight for clean air.

Thank you for stepping forward.
Best wishes from Longmont,
Tobias

We too in SW Colorado have issues with good air - Four Corners Power Plant in AZ is making a mess of our air quality. We hope that EPA will do something about it.

In the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" there was a scene where the Jimmy Stewart character is shown by an angel what his hometown would look like if he had never been born.

Instead of the bustling, happy and clean small town he remembered, it had become a seedy place of mostly saloons, casinos and people with a hopeless air about them. The place had been renamed "Potterville" after the rapacious banker who had taken over the place.

When I see the influence of powerful lobbyists and large corporations at work in our system it makes me think our country is turning into a real life Potterville, and that's just sad.

The early 20th century writer Sinclair Lewis once said "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

John

Thanks, Jeremy, for tirelessly working to protect and improve the most public resource of all.

THANK YOU FOR STANDING UP FOR US.

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