St. Louis, MO – Last week Commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Dr. Chris Nicastro, Alderwoman Phyllis Young and Alderwoman Lyda Krewson signed onto the Clean Air Promise. The Clean Air Promise is a pledge to protect American children and families from dangerous air pollution by defending clean air policies against Congressional attacks.
The officials’ pledge comes at a crucial time in our nation’s ongoing debate over clean air protections. Under the federal Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency is required to set a national standard for air pollution according to the latest science on air quality and public health. The EPA is currently in the process of updating clean air protections for mercury, smog, soot, global warming pollution and other air toxins. If implemented, these rules could prevent over 23,500 premature deaths, 12,000 hospital visits and hundreds of thousands of missed work and school days each year.
Meanwhile, polluters and their allies in the House of Representatives are doing all they can to prevent the EPA from doing its job by trying to push bills that would block the EPA from updating clean air protections based on the most recent science.
“Missourians should be able to breathe clean air without fearing for their health and the health of their children,” said Environment Missouri Advocate Ted Mathys. “We hope our representatives in Washington will heed the call of Missouri officials to protect the health and safety of their constituents by defending the Clean Air Act against attacks from corporate interests.”
Thankfully, Missourians have public officials like Alderwoman Young, Alderwoman Krewson and Commissioner Nicastro who stand up for their health and safety.
Strong clean air protections are especially important in Missouri. Recent reports released by Environment Missouri found that St. Louis area ranks as the 7th smoggiest large metropolitan area in the country. Further, Missouri is the 4th most mercury emitting state, and home to Ameren Missouri Labadie Energy Center, the 2nd most mercury-emitting power plant in the country. These pollutants endanger Missourians on a daily basis and are linked to asthma, lung disease, irreversible deficits in verbal skills, damage to attention and motor control, and reduced IQ. More than 274,000 people in Missouri suffer from asthma, including 92,000 children.
"We applaud those Missouri officials who have already taken the Clean Air Promise," said Ted Mathys, Environment Missouri Advocate. "And we encourage other Missouri officials and our members of Congress who care about making every day a safe place to breathe to follow their lead."