The American Lung Association in West Virginia is in appreciation of Sen. Jay Rockefeller's stance against Sen. Inhofe's attempt to limit air protection standards with the proposal of S.J. Res 37, a resolution that would have overturned the EPA's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and allowed power plants to pollute the air we breathe without restriction.
In opposing this measure, Sen. Rockefeller upheld protections from emissions of mercury, hydrogen chloride, arsenic and lead, and in doing so, stood up for all citizens of West Virginia. The EPA estimates the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards will prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths, 130,000 asthma attacks, 4,700 heart attacks, and 5,700 hospital visits each year starting in 2016. The rule would benefit the people of West Virginia enormously as over 67,000 children and adults with asthma and over 260,000 people with cardiovascular disease are at risk from air pollution in many West Virginia counties according the Lung Association's State of the Air 2012 report.
So, we agree with Sen. Rockefeller that the "health benefits of the rule are enormous," and again applaud his vote in opposing this resolution as a safeguard to all adults, children and families in West Virginia from the deadly, toxic emissions of coal-fired power plants.
We all have the right to breathe uncontaminated air and it is comforting to know we have a senator standing up for us and fighting for this right.
Camp Hill, Pa.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Deb Brown is president & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic, which includes West Virginia.