While focus has been on trying to solve health and violence crisis in inner city communities by dealing with behavioral factors, not as much attention has been paid to the environmental factors leading to destruction of communities.
Gina McCarthy has been tapped to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, and given her track record of protecting America's families from toxic pollution, her confirmation will help us all breathe easier.
The average American may not be aware of how these sequester cuts will impact the air that they breathe. Perhaps, most surprising to them, would be how the affected programs that reduce air pollution will shape the state of national health for everyone.
The Obama Administration is on the verge of finalizing its long-awaited update to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulate matter. Knowing how many lives could be saved, it is simply unconscionable to ignore the facts.
You may hear it called black carbon or even elemental carbon. Scientists getting technical will call it the "light-absorbing part of particles suspended in the atmosphere." Let's just keep it simple and call it soot.
Republicans are right, of course: cleaning up the air can be expensive. But as president Obama -- and even Mitt Romney in his better moments -- must realize, it is not nearly so costly as failing to act.
What's more, soot pollution is also the cause of hazy views in our national parks. Asthma and you can't even enjoy the iconic views in places like the Grand Canyon or the Great Smoky Mountains? Come on.
The EPA has been under concerted attack by members of the new Congress. Makes me wonder: are EPA's new, weakened rules on hazardous air pollutants intended as a peace offering -- or white flag -- to their opponents?