To the editor:
I want to share some important information and good news about an Environmental Protection Agency ruling that I recently received from the Natural Resources Council of Maine.
I believe that when we think of Maine, we think of a clean environment with healthy, fresh air. That image is one of the reasons that millions of visitors come here each year.
However, because the prevailing winds bring us air pollution from so many dirty coal- fired power plants upwind, Maine has been called the tailpipe of the nation.
The smog and mercury that flow here from the coal plants have given Maine one of the highest rates of childhood asthma in the country.
Thankfully, the Environmental Protection Agency has just released important new health protections to prevent harmful toxic air pollution, such as mercury, arsenic, and dioxin from power plants. Even in small amounts these pollutants are linked to asthma, cancer, heart disease and birth defects.
These new rules will provide strong health protections that could prevent 11,000 heart attacks and 120,000 asthma attacks — and save 17,00 lives — each year.
Unfortunately, the coal industry is spending millions of dollars to block these rules, despite the fact that it continues to be proven that the benefits of clean air rules far outweigh the cost.
President Obama and the EPA deserve our thanks for standing up to big polluters and standing up for Maine families. Maine can breathe a little easier this holiday season knowing that less mercury and other toxic pollution will be headed our way.
Nancy Bliss, Brunswick