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Obama caved on air quality standards

Environmental PollutionDiseases and IllnessesAir PollutionBarack ObamaEnvironmental Politics

I couldn't agree more with Rena Steinzor's commentary on air pollution ("Breathing uneasily," Sept. 8). President Obama's decision to reject his own Environmental Protection Agency's recommendation to strengthen air quality standards for ozone is a bad decision for anyone with lung and/orheart disease.

Major ground-level ozone sources are motor vehicles, fossil fuel-driven power plants and other industrial sites. If President Obama is not responding to the public health needs of the millions of heart and lung disease sufferers who are affected by ozone pollution, it must be because he is only listening to the cries of the corporate CEOs of the above industries.

The situation reminds me of a quote from Charles Dickens' novel "Hard Times," written more than 150 years ago:

"Surely there never was such fragile China-ware as that of which the [mill owners] of Coketown were made. Handle them never so lightly, and they fell to pieces. ... Whenever [one of them] felt he was ill-used — that is to say, whenever he was not left entirely alone — he was sure to come out with the awful menace, that he would 'sooner pitch his property into the Atlantic.' This had terrified the Home Secretary within an inch of his life, on several occasions."

In this case, replace the "Home Secretary" with "the president" and the passage is as relevant today as ever.

Maybe those of us with children who have asthma and those with heart or lung disease should be calling the White House switchboard and making a personal plea for the better ozone/air quality standards required by the Clean Air Act.

Gwen L. DuBois

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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