This week, August 15-19, Moms Clean Air Force is promoting a "Voices for Clean Air National Week of Action." Following an extremely successful three days at the national BlogHer conference, the MCAF team was reaffirmed in their conviction that parents are a vital--and often untapped--constituency for advocating on behalf of non-toxic air and the work of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Although our elected officials have closed down shop in Washington for a recess, the game isn't over. If anything, while they are home in their "district work period," they are accessible to the voters they are charged with representing.
This is the time for people to react vociferously to actions that were described in the July 31 New York Times as a "broad assault on the nation's environmental laws." In an op-ed entitled "Concealed Weapons Against the Environment," the Times described how House Republicans had used the 2012 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill to attach "anti-environment riders." With a quick primer, the editorial explains that riders "have nothing to do with spending" and exist to "change policy." In addition, riders do not come up for hearings on comprehensive debate, and the Times opined that few would be able to survive independently.
Marty Hayden, Vice President of Policy and Legislation at Earthjustice explained how the attached riders would affect air quality in the following overview:
• Polluter Paradise- This rider would require EPA to stop all work to update clean air standards for dangerous smog, soot and other air pollution if so-called "background" levels of that pollution anywhere in the country are occasionally higher than the standards needed to protect public health.
• Spreading Death and Disease from Cement Pollution- This rider blocks EPA health protections that would control smog, soot, mercury and other toxic pollutants emitted by cement plants, some of the worst industrial polluters of any kind.
• More Soot Pollution, Anti-Science -This rider blocks the EPA from taking account the best scientific and medical information and updating clean air standards for "coarse particle pollution" or PM10, sometimes called soot.
• Spreading Mercury Poisoning, Death and Asthma Attacks - This rider denies EPA funding to carry out and enforce the Clean Air Act's forthcoming Mercury and Air Toxics standards for power plants and the recently finalized Cross-State Air Pollution Rule to cut smog and soot pollution from power plants.
• Regulation of Ammonia Emissions - This amendment would prevent the EPA from setting a Clean Air Act standard for ammonia. Several federal agencies, including EPA, have documented ammonia's acute and chronic adverse health.
While all eyes were fixed on the issue of the debt ceiling, this information fell under the wire. However, during the week, you can stand with Moms Clean Air Force by getting in touch with your representatives. Let them know that the EPA shouldn't be prohibited from moving forward in protecting Americans. Tell them to oppose the proposed riders to the bill by voting to strike them.
Click here to join with people across the country to show your support for your right to breathe unpolluted air.
Image Courtesy of RVR Associates
Follow Marcia G. Yerman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mgyerman