LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Critical air quality safeguard bogged down in Congress

Friday, December 16, 2011 | 12:43 p.m. CST

To the Editor:

We’re on the eve of one of the most significant health and money saving environmental safeguards in history, the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard, thanks to the Obama administration. 

The common sense rule will prevent as many as 17,000 deaths, 11,000 heart attacks and 120,000 cases of childhood asthma and reduce related health-care costs by as much as $140 billion annually.

Unfortunately, as cleaner air and health-care savings loom, the Republican-led House of Representatives tied the extension of a payroll tax break to an unrelated air pollution rider that would result in cancer, asthma and deaths of many Missouri citizens. 

The rider would indefinitely delay a beneficial air pollution standard that requires large polluting boilers to cap their smokestacks. 

Clearly Speaker Boehner is only willing to help the middle class if the Senate and administration agree to compromise the health of Americans. Shame on him.

Kathleen Logan Smith is executive director of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment.

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John Schmidt December 16, 2011 | 4:58 p.m.

Drill baby, drill.

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