I am glad for Margaret Williams‘ reporting on the Sierra Club’s study citing Duke Energy for unsafe sulfur dioxide emissions [“New Study Cites Increased Sulphur Dioxide Emissions at Duke’s Asheville Plant,” Feb. 19, Xpress].
It’s no secret that we have an air-pollution problem, and because of it, in North Carolina, we have a breathing problem. Our state’s asthma rates for children are higher than the national average. The No. 1 health reason for missed school is related to asthma. As much as 51 percent of North Carolina’s air pollution is coming from area power plants, which is the reason why our smog levels are toxic and harmful to the vulnerable breathers — babies and those with respiratory illnesses like asthma. My 2-year-old son and I spend our days at work and day care only seven miles away from a coal-fired plant. I am worried many days about whether it is safe for him to even breathe the air.
I know I’m not alone because the EPA is also looking at the power plants. Their ground-level ozone proposal to make the smog standard safe for everyone (60 ppb) would make power plants act responsibly where they have failed miserably — costing us the quality of our air and lives. If these strong rules are passed on smog by the year 2025, they would prevent:
• 960,000 asthma attacks among children.
• More than 1 million missed school days.
• 4,300 premature deaths each year.
They would also provide up to $38 billion in public health benefits.
We and all families here in Asheville deserve safe air. I hope more parents will join me in showing their support for the smog rules, for our own sake and our children’s. There is a March 17 deadline for the public to comment in support of the strong smog rule.
— Shelly Smith
Member, Moms Clean Air Force