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Time to Decide: Protect Kids, or Polluters?

Pete Altman

Posted August 29, 2011

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NRDC is launching ads targeting policymakers and polluters urging them to make a simple commitment: protect kids from dangerous air pollution. It’s a simple request that boils a complex issue down to its essential question when it comes to the millions of tons of dangerous toxic, smog, soot and carbon pollution, are we going to protect kids, or polluters?

For the better part of the last year, we at NRDC have been highlighting the health-destroying effects of air pollution and the need to continue the fight for clean air. The lives and futures of millions of American families are at risk, especially the 37 million kids who are the most vulnerable to air pollution and the even more so the 7 million of them that have asthma, a condition that pollution makes much more dangerous. That so many Americans and kids are vulnerable to air pollution is at the heart of the US EPA’s proposals to reduce a wide range of air pollutants from a number of sources, including power plants and other industrial facilities.

Yet the fact that tens of thousands of early deaths and hundreds of thousands of cases of asthma and other respiratory diseases could be avoided hasn’t been sufficient to persuade many members of Congress to let the US EPA do its job.

The fact that reducing pollution will pay off in terms of economic savings from avoided health-care costs, fewer lost-work days and increased worker productivity –and the existence of historical record showing such savings from previous air pollution efforts – is also ignored by too many in Congress.

Which is why NRDC is stepping up our campaign to protect kids and American families from air pollution by putting more pressure directly on the decision-makers who have the power to give Americans what they deserve: cleaner air and better health.

We are focusing on Senators Bob Casey and Scott Brown because they both represent states where industrial air pollution – the kind that EPA seeks to reduce – is a major contributor to air quality problems. Pennsylvania has had 49 days so far this year when the air was unsafe for kids to breathe, and the state ranks 2nd in the nation for toxic pollution from power plants.

Sen Bob Casey clean air billboard

Massachusetts has had 21 days so far this year with air unsafe for kids, and power plants are the state’s single leading source of industrial toxic air pollution.

Sen Scott Brown clean air billboard

Neither Senator is the “worst” on this issue – but each one has voted against EPA’s pollution reduction efforts in the last year and each one has the potential- and good reason –to be a champ on this issue. Our challenge the Senators to make a clear commitment – a promise – to protect kids.

We are also focusing on AEP because it has been leading the charge to urge members of Congress to block the EPA’s pollution reduction efforts.

AEP clean air billboard

You can help us spread the word by sharing this blog and the ads, and by asking your elected representatives directly if they’ll make this commitment, by clicking here

Learn more about our ad campaign and read the official press release right here.

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BillAug 30 2011 10:21 PM

To anyone who thinks the EPA's efforts are misdirected, and that governmental regulation is an unfair burden on industry; I wish you could experience the nightmare of waking up unable to catch your breath, the agony of being unable to cross you yard, or walk from the parking lot into the store in one shot. Every day you continue that thinking, you are dooming more people to that shadowy existence. I will never again enjoy "breaking the wall" at about three miles into a distance run. The beautiful little Asthma poster girl from my town will never celebrate her thirteenth birthday.

Vicki FriedmanAug 31 2011 12:43 AM

I know that we have to have the EPA and it has to be under a Democratic president to do the work it must do. The GOP and the Bush administration made sure government departments were headed by Bush appointees who had no intention of having the EPA do their job or for many other government agencies to do theirs. We have to protect of air, water and land from polluters. We can't allow billionaires to buy legislators against the earth.

Children's EPA and Community ForumsAug 31 2011 01:38 AM

Thanks your for this article.

I was seriously and permanently injured by toxic chemicals while teaching school. Toxic Justice, my memoir, is in revision and will hopefully be published soon. Since my injury almost 30 years ago, nothing has improved, except available information on the internet. Dr. Carl Bernofsky, former Research Professor at the Tulane University School of Medicine, wrote

"Nancy Swan's book [Toxic Justice] ... will describe her metamorphosis from classroom teacher to severely injured victim to ardent crusader for judicial reform. Many obstacles had to be overcome in her quest for justice. Others have set about on similar missions only to fall exhausted, short of their goal. Swan shows us the virtue of perseverance. She stands as a symbol of strength and tenacity for those about to embark on their own treacherous voyage in search of justice."

Toxic Justice is also cry for the protection of children, who are given less protection than animals. As a result, I founded and direct Children's Environmental Protection Alliance (Children's EPA) and host Community Forums.

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