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E-M:/ Support for EPA Air Quality Improvements

Enviro-Mich message from Tom Stanton <stanton7@pilot.msu.edu>

To Rep. Stabenow: 

You were elected in large part due to the overwhelming support you
received from area environmentalists. It is time to do the right thing
and side with the EPA, for common Americans, to increase air quality
standards to account for effects against human health of breathing air
laden with ozone and small particulates. 

The information being touted now by giant industry and major polluters
is bunk. We heard all the same nonsense before several times already.
Whether catalytic converters or non-leaded fuel for cars, SO2 emissions
reductions, etc., etc.: In every case industry exaggerated the costs and
minimized the benefits from cleaning up our environment. It is a major
embarassment to be from Michigan and to have our political leadership so
severely misunderstanding this issue.

Environmental protection is absolutely necessary. Increasing
environmental standards helps the economy to develop in positive ways.
Pollution prevention creates jobs at rates 2 to 10 times faster than the
polluting industrial processes it replaces. Our international
competitors are kicking our butts all over the globe, and they live with
energy taxes several times higher than ours and often much stronger
environmental standards. Many recent studies show that improved economic
performance goes hand in hand with stricter environmental regulations. I
have personally read reports of the Harvard/Brigham study, and I have
personally reviewed the EPA meta-study of recent air quality and health
analyses. The evidence for the need for the stricter standards, as you
already well know, is overwhelming. In fact, these standards, when
adopted, will be based on more evidence than any previous environmental
standards in the U.S. We cannot afford not to act. 

The rhetoric being sloshed around Washington and Lansing by big
polluters is horrible. For politicians to believe and repeat it is

Please get on the right side of this issue and use all of your influence
to help the EPA to implement stronger air quality standards. The U.S.
and Michigan must revert from dependence upon polluting industries and
start the move towards sustainability now. We can ill afford another
generation  of the extra health care costs and shortened lifespans that
result from breathing bad air. As a constituent and an independent
voter, I can assure you I will be watching your environmental record
extremely closely, and I will be trying to influence all my friends to
vote based on sustainability policies.

As a long-time asthma sufferer, I know how debilitating even a little
bit of air pollution can be. It makes me extremely sad to think that my
elected representatives are being persuaded by campaign contributions
and corporate lobbyists, rather than by their consciences and morality.
When I heard the Governor on the radio last week spouting the corporate
lies, I was severely disheartened. It is so ironic that Michigan became
one of the leading states for environmental protection when we had a
Republican governor, but I believe there has never been a time when
corporate greed guided both political parties the way it does today.
Please, help to reverse the ugly trend in Michigan away from
environmental protection. Remember that the corporations trying to
persuade you are basically amoral entities that are intent only upon
short term profits. As a public representative, you have an obligation
to take a longer term view for the sustainability of this area, Michigan
as a whole, the U.S., and the world. Don't let us down!

-- Tom Stanton, Lansing

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