LANSING– A ghastly concoction of mercury, smog, and other dangerous pollutants have made our air downright frightening to breathe, according to Environment Michigan’s The Ten Scariest Facts about Michigan’s Air.
In anticipation of the scariest of holidays, Environment Michigan’s Jessica Surma was joined by Pamela Ortner, RN, from Healthcare Without Harm, and Gail Philbin of Sierra Club to unveil the top ten terrifying truths about local air quality at the Capitol Pedestrian Mall. Environment Michigan also announced plans to have its local members hand out The Ten Scariest Facts about Michigan’s Air to Lansing’s trick-or-treaters as part of a public education campaign.
“Halloween is the time to be scared, but the people of Lansing should never have to feel afraid to breathe,” said Environment Michigan’s Jessica Surma. “Major polluters like DTE spew toxic pollution into our air that can cause asthma attacks, developmental disorders in children, and even premature death.”
Ortner highlighted the public health effects of such pollution, citing that clean air protections are critical to preventing birth defects, asthma attacks and even premature deaths.
The group also singled out Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who recently took legal action to urge the delay of EPA implementing emissions regulations. “Mr. Schuette is charged with the task of acting in the best interest of Michiganders, but instead he is standing with big polluters to allow them to dump millions of tons of arsenic, mercury and other toxic pollution into the air we breathe,” said Philbin. To close the event, the group delivered petition signatures protesting his action to Schuette’s Lansing office.
To improve Lansing’s air quality, Environment Michigan called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to continue its life-saving work limiting harmful air pollution. In August, EPA unveiled its Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which cuts smog and soot-forming pollution in the eastern half of the U.S., thereby saving as many as 2,000 lives in Michigan. EPA is poised to finalize another rule that could curb mercury from coal-fired power plants by 91 percent nationwide. EPA’s proposed Mercury and Air Toxics Rule would save 17,000 lives each year once it is implemented.
Environment Michigan also urged Michigan’s Congressional delegation, including Senators Stabenow and Levin, to oppose all efforts to block, delay, or weaken federal safeguards that keep Michigan’s air clean and our families healthy.
“Halloween witches and ghosts are scary, but the state of Lansing’s air shouldn’t be,” added Surma. “It’s time to give the people of Lansing the Halloween treat they deserve: protection from air pollution.”