Posts Tagged ‘Moms Clean Air Force’

xposted at Moms Clean AirForce

When I hear someone say, yeah, the kid wheezes a little but he’s ok; sometimes she can’t catch her breath, but she’ll be fine; when someone tries to minimize the harm that asthma can cause – it irks me.  It REALLY irks me.

When I hear a power plant try to minimize the harm that their emissions do; when they dismiss various scientists, including those that conducted a study that scientifically estimates “the contribution of environmental pollutants to the incidence, prevalence, mortality, and costs of pediatric disease in American children. [They] examined four categories of illness: lead poisoning, asthma, cancer, and neurobehavioral disorders. “ [1]  What they found was alarming, “ Total annual costs are estimated to be $54.9 billion (range $48.8-64.8 billion): $43.4 billion for lead poisoning, $2.0 billion for asthma, $0.3 billion for childhood cancer, and $9.2 billion for neurobehavioral disorders.”

That’s all numbers, all money…  the true cost  – Children.  The children who are unable to run and play, who take medications to be able to breathe, to be able to function normally in a regular school day.  The true cost was discussed on the recent Mom’s Clean Air Force call about asthma in Latino kids,  when we heard the heartbreaking story of a young girl who died as a result of an asthma attack.  One of the topics we talked about was how schools deal with kids who need to carry their inhalers, and I was heartened to hear that in every State it is now law that children over a certain age must carry and self administer their inhalers.  Here is a link to the CDC’s page on Asthma in Schools, that has links to each State’s rules (some require letters from doctors and/or parents

For my Military Readers – do you know what the rules are in DoDD schools?

The American Lung Association has a program – the “Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative” that you can use with your community and school, to work together to make schools more welcoming to children that suffer from asthma.

For those of us who don’t have kids with asthma, why should we worry?  There are so many other things for us to worry about with our kids (or in my case, my grandchild).. school bullying, or grades, or how awful the school lunch is, or how well she’s getting along in school…. Why? Well, if we are going to be crass about this, if the almighty dollar is what it takes for some to get involved or make a change – ok, here’s a few money reasons.

Because every kid with asthma, is an adult with asthma who will need medical care.  Because the majority of kids with asthma, are children in poverty, who need medical care that is subsidized in some way.  Because those kids with asthma have parents who need to leave their jobs to take them to the doctor, to care for them when they have an attack; to stay home with them.

I’d prefer to believe that most of us want to cut down on the incidence of asthma in kids, because we don’t want to see a child struggling to breathe, we don’t want to see a child relegated to the sidelines because they had an attack.  That’s what my friend Bette calls the Pollyanna in me..

Knowing that the more polluted our air is, the harder it is for kids to breathe; and knowing that some companies put their profits ahead of these kids – is absolutely infuriating!  So what do we do about it?  We make sure the EPA isn’t gutted of its ability to  safeguard the air we breathe.

Mom’s Clean Air Force is trying to make sure that all of us are heard in this ongoing debate.  One voice is great, but putting that voice together with lots of other voices – make a huge difference.  Because our elected representatives pay attention to LOUD noises! So lets join together – lets make our voices heard!

[1] Landrigan PJ, Schechter CB, Lipton JM, Fahs MC, Schwartz J 2002. Environmental Pollutants and Disease in American Children: Estimates of Morbidity, Mortality, and Costs for Lead Poisoning, Asthma, Cancer, and Developmental Disabilities. Environ Health Perspect 110:721-728. doi:10.1289/ehp.02110721

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Last week, while driving down the toll road in Denver, I crested the hill and started down into Parker. I looked up to the horizon, where I should have seen the mountains. Instead of the magnificence of the Rockies with the snow on them, there was a haze with some darker smudges and lighter drifts.

I’d heard that the pollution from California was affecting the Denver area – but that was such a visible reminder it was shocking. A week later, driving back down that same piece of road, the magnificence of a nighttime thunderstorm revealed the glory of the mountains, the air washed clean. The next day, we could still see the mountains clearly, and for me at least, the sight was awesome! My 5 year old granddaughter, born in the shadow of those peaks, wondered why I kept pulling over and staring at them, she’s so used to them. I want her to be used to seeing them clearly, not having to squint to see them through the haze of pollution.

If something as magnificent, as timeless as the Rocky Mountains range is being affected, one has to wonder at what else is being impacted, the lungs of our children? The Clean Air Act is not just here to aggravate big business, contrary to the very vocal critics’ opinions. It was promulgated for US. For you, me and our kids; for the generations that come after us, who deserve to see those mountains without a dirty haze on them.

Last week there was a Senate hearing on the Clean Air Act. What we need now is to contact our Senators and Representatives, and encourage them to support the Act, to support clean air for your child and mine.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D.RI) who is the chair of the Environment and Public Works subcommittee on oversight wrote a piece for Moms Clean Air Force .  You should read this – it’s important.

Take a look, then make some calls; write some letters.  Only by talking, only by making our voices heard can we hope to make a difference.  Please join us at Mom’s Clean Air Force.   With enough noise, with enough voices, even the Senate has to hear us over the noise of the lobbyists from the energy companies and coal companies.


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At a time when nearly 5 million children suffer from asthma, and childhood cancer rates are rising dramatically, successful environmental protections such as the Clean Air Act are at risk of being dismantled. With the economy, budget cuts and a host of other pressing issues, the last thing Congress has on its mind right now is our families’ health. What does this mean for our children? Why is the Clean Air Act so important for family health and what can mothers do to safeguard their kids?

This invitation-only online event will be hosted by Dominique Browning, author of Slow Love, blogger at Slow Love Life, former editor-in-chief of House & Garden, and lead blogger for the Moms Clean Air Force.

She will be joined by special guest Jessica Capshaw, star of “Grey’s Anatomy”, and Vickie Patton, general counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund.

Jessica Capshaw is a mother of two, the actress who plays Dr. Arizona Robbins on “Grey’s Anatomy” and a passionate advocate for the environment and children’s health. Capshaw is married to Christopher Gavigan, bestselling author and former CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World, a nonprofit that empowers parents to protect children from harmful chemicals.

Vickie Patton is a mother of two who lives in Boulder, Colorado. She has fought to protect human health and the environment from air pollution for two decades — at EDF and, before that, at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of General Counsel.

Participants will have the opportunity to live-chat, Tweet and/or ask questions throughout the presentation and discussion.

Will you join us? This webinar is a unique opportunity to join the conversation about protecting our kids’ health and preserving the environment for generations to come.

We look forward to “seeing” you on May 18th! Here’s the link.

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Saving Energy, saving money , becoming a Green Citizen. Ed Begley? HGTV Green House? No – the Army Reserve! Before you scoff, before you decide I’ve definitely lost the few marbles still rattling around my skull – give me a minute of your time to show you what I’m talking about.

From Defense.gov news – an report of the groundbreaking for a new solar micro grid at Fort Hunter Liggett in California. The location is perfect for a solar array – 292 days of sunshine means that the new facility will have plenty of “fuel” to work! This installation of panels is also a “twofer”. The panel array is being set up over an existing parking lot and shades the cars parked underneath it, absorbing all that sunlight and generating power. The personnel who need to park their cars in the area won’t return to that baking hot car, the seat you can’t sit in and the steering wheel that’s too hot to handle – and think of how much gas they’ll save by not needing to let the air conditioning run to cool the vehicle down enough to drive home. The solar array “shade cover” will use all that solar heat and light to generate power for part of the Army Reserve post and if they find that it works well enough, plans are to build phase two and three – this Army Reserve post could actually be a “net zero energy installation”, producing their own energy in a sustainable way.

Saving that much energy isn’t just good for the Reserves – it’s good for the taxpayer! In the long run (and that’s what we need to look at, not just the immediate savings, but savings over the life of the facility) we as taxpayers will save money, the facility won’t need to rely on fossil fuels for power, emissions will be cut (if you don’t burn it, no smoke! No particulates!) and we conserve the limited resource of oil, or coal. No need to build another power plant – if more companies did something like this, we could cut down on the amount of power they need to buy from the power plant, reduce the strain on those plants – allowing the energy to be used by those who can’t rely on such a system.

As  Dorothy Robyn, deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment said in a hearing on the Hill – renewable energy investments could save Billions of dollars.  Billions.  These are our tax dollars that could be saved, while conserving energy and preventing more pollution.

Think of those acres of parking lots that just bake in the sun, in the desert states – what do you think? Could they be a source of power as well? Sunlight is still free – the solar cells can be built right here in the US providing new jobs in an industry poised to grow.

For more ideas, and more information about the environment, Clean Air, Clean Water – please go to Mom’s Clean Air Force web site.

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Clean air! It’s everyone’s right, to have air that is clean and that won’t hurt us to take a deep breath, right? That is the reason we have the EPA and The Clean Air Act. So why should I care about this – it’s the law already, we fought that battle back in the 70s, and in the 80s and even in the 90s. Why are you bothering me with this? We’ve become accustomed to having air we can breathe, safely.

Many years ago, when this Milspouse muttered in Minnesota, I worked for a group of lawyers who worked for the Pollution Control Agency. The Land of Ten Thousand Lakes published an advisory, stating that pregnant women, young children and even women who were thinking of becoming pregnant shouldn’t eat a lot of fish out of any of those lovely lakes. Placards at the lakes told us that all those people who fish should toss them back, not just because of conservation of the fish stock – but because the mercury levels were so high! Mercury? The mercury we used to see in thermometers? Now, you ask, what does this have to do with the Clean Air Act – I should be talking about the Clean WATER Act. No, not this time; this mercury isn’t naturally occurring.  Airborne particles from coal fired power plants are precipitating those mercury levels into the “danger for pregnant women” zone.

The EPA is proposing a ruling and update to the Clean Air Act targeting those toxic air pollutants that are the most harmful – like mercury, arsenic, dioxin, lead, acid gases and other heavy metals. These are usually spewed out by coal fired power plants that don’t have any limits on what they emit. Now this rule has been under consideration and development for 20 years. In that time some power plants have been fitted with the necessary filters, and are online, working efficiently but in a cleaner fashion than those unfiltered.

Opponents to these regulations are trying very hard to prevent the EPA from enforcing these new rules under consideration. BUT on the other hand, those who care about our health are on board with making these new rules the law, like The American Medical Association, the American Lung Association; the American Heart Association; the American Academy of Pediatricians; the American Nurses Association.

I’m part of a new movement – Moms Clean Air Force* – as a mom and grandma, I believe in clean air for our families. I’m combining two passions here, military families and their welfare, and environmental causes. The young children of this country, who are the population most likely to have asthma from “bad air”, who get the constant respiratory illnesses from bad air, and whose little bodies are most likely to be polluted by the dioxins, the mercury and lead that can harm their brain development; those children deserve clean air, deserve to be able to breathe safely. My granddaughter deserves to be able to run around in the clean air, not wheeze and sneeze from pollutants.

Our military children, when they live in this country, deserve to be able to breathe safely. After all, some of us have lived in countries where the air isn’t that clean, where we can’t be sure what they are breathing in. We’ve seen our spouses come back from “downrange” and other places, talking about being able to breathe so much better when they are back. Some of us are seeing the effects of bad air that our service-member breathed in affecting their breathing now. Let’s keep that clean air here in the USA, let’s make sure that the air we all breathe is as clean as we can possibly make it.

The EPA News Release is here

That link will lead you to other EPA links about this new rule. You can get the 900 page proposed rule as well as very helpful interpretation documents if you don’t want to devote your week to reading the whole thing!

Here is the place to add your comments – email address: a-and-r-docket@epa.gov

To make life easier on the person sorting these, and to make sure that your comment gets to the right place, emails should reference these Docket ID numbers.

Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2011-0044 (NSPS action)
Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0234 (NESHAP action)

*Disclosure: I am receiving a small honorarium for my time writing, speaking and participating in events as part of the Moms Clean Air Force. But you know I wouldn’t do this, if I didn’t believe in it. I believe, as I always have, in being a good caretaker of the planet while I’m here, and leaving it a better, cleaner place for my child and grandchild.

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