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American Lung Association blasts Mich. Atty. Gen. over clean air lawsuit

The American Lung Association is strongly criticizing Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette for suing the federal government to prevent the implementation of new clean air regulations governing power plant emissions.

In a press release the group said:

“The decision by Attorney General Bill Schuette and his counterparts in other states to stand up for polluters and to ignore the health of Michigan’s children is quite shocking,” said Peter Iwanowicz, assistant vice president for the American Lung Association. “The job of an attorney general is to protect and advocate for the residents they serve. Attorney General Schuette has done the exact opposite by siding with big polluters over the health and well-being of our children and other vulnerable residents.” …

The EPA estimates that the regulations will “prevent serious illnesses and health problems for thousands of Americans, including: up to 17,000 premature deaths, 11,000 heart attacks, 120,000 asthma attacks, 12,200 hospital and emergency room visits, 4,500 cases of chronic bronchitis and 5.1 million restricted activity days.”

“As a nurse, I’ve seen firsthand how harmful pollution endangers lives,” said Mary Scoblic, who has a master’s degree in pediatric nursing and has served on the ALAM board since 1975. “There is nothing that rings the wake-up call louder than seeing a child gasping for breath because his lungs have been damaged by pollution. It’s the EPA’s job to protect all of us from dangerous pollution, and it’s our attorney general’s job to look out for our best interests.”

Attorney General Schuette’s action comes as a report released by the Great Lakes Commission shows that mercury contamination in the Great Lakes is more widespread than originally thought, which presents a serious health issue in Michigan. The report underscores the need for moving ahead with the EPA proposal to reduce mercury and air toxics from power plants.

“There is no disputing that pollution and neurotoxins such as mercury have a devastating effect on children’s health,” said Jan Roberts, a registered nurse and certified asthma educator. “Attorney General Schuette is turning back the clock on progress made to improve the air that fills our children and grandchildren’s lungs. Clean, healthy air is a necessity for all of us.”

Last week, Schuette and 24 other Attorneys General asked a federal court to issue an injunction against the new EPA rules, which would set stricter limits on the emission of mercury and other toxic elements from power plants.

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