Environmental Protection Agency hearings today in Philadelphia and Chicago drew crowds of clean air advocates—including a man who described the "smell of death" from a coal-fired power plant in his town.
The Latest On: Environmental Justice
Nobody gets through a day without breathing. Not executives in the coal-fired power and cement industries, which are polluting our air daily. Not the legion of lobbyists they hire to patrol the halls of Congress in defense of dirty air. And not the members of Congress who, hand-in-hand with these special interests, are marching the Clean Air Act off a cliff.
At the very same time that these women and men draw breath, they are working to derail and delay clean air protections with a vigor that suggests there isn't a set of functioning lungs between them.
We talk about the importance of clean air a lot on these digital pages, but I could never express that sentiment as eloquently as the Clean Air Ambassadors who went to Washington, D.C. last week. Take, for example, the words of Dr. Lynn Ringenberg, a pediatrician from Tampa Bay, Florida.
Coal cares. It really does. So we're told, at least, by a new website that offers free inhalers to asthmatic youngsters. The Puff-Puff inhalers come adorned with all sorts of kiddie icons: Elmo, Dora the Explorer and a little old heartthrob by the name of Justin Bieber, who takes breath away in a different way.
On Thursday morning, the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, will begin a two-part hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) policies on mountaintop removal mining. The committee, chaired by Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) is calling the hearings “EPA Mining Policies: Assault on Appalachian Jobs – Part I and Part II.”
The Clean Air Ambassadors who arrived yesterday in Washington, D.C. have some amazing stories to tell, and I spent the better part of yesterday hearing them. Alexandra Allred from Midlothian, TX described a day she spent outside with her son Tommy—a day when he didn’t suffer his usual respiratory issues and could play carefree, like a kid again. “I had my son back,” she told me.
Well, it's true that here on a blog, the currency is words. We're supposed to tell stories through our prose. But today I'm going to go easy on the blog and yield the storytelling to a small collection of witty, beautiful, foot-stomping and surreal art by people who are mastering other mediums to talk about mountaintop removal mining:
Port Arthur, Texas is home to a high density of oil refineries, chemical plants and hazardous waste facilities that have made the Gulf Coast city one of the most polluted in America. Asthma and cancer rates in the largely African-American neighborhood known as West Side—which sits at the fenceline of Port Arthur's heavy industry—are among the highest in the state.