On Tuesday, my children and I traveled to Washington with a group of other concerned moms, public health physicians and faith leaders to fight the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to delay a stronger ozone standard and other attacks on the Clean Air Act.
Ozone pollution, or smog, causes asthma attacks and other health issues that result in missed school days for children and increased hospitalizations and emergency room visits.
In 2015, EPA agreed to strengthen the ozone standard from the 75 parts per billion level set in 2008 to 70 ppb — the weakest standard recommended by EPA’s panel of scientists. The standard should have been stronger, but it does offer more protection from harmful air pollution than the earlier standard, and as moms we want to see it implemented quickly.
On Tuesday, the EPA AIRNOW air quality index showed levels in our ZIP code as high as 190 (“Unhealthy for everyone”) for ozone. As a family with children, it is important for us to have clean air during the summer when the children have more time to play outside.
Everyone we met on our trip, from Baltimore Penn station to Union Station and around DC,, showed their support and desire for enforcing Clean Air standards. Americans know we need clean air!
Now, the EPA is proposing to delay putting the new 2015 standard in effect — and unwise bills in Congress could permanently weaken this and other clean air standards. I came to D.C. with my family to tell my elected leaders to oppose such bills.
Everyone has the right to air they can breathe. The Clean Air Act has done so much to provide a healthier atmosphere for all of us. These attacks must be stopped.
Elizabeth Green, Lutherville
The writer is member of Moms Clean Air Force.
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