League of Women Voters of New Jersey demands firm commitment to clean air

The League of Women Voters of New Jersey kicked off the Clean Air Promise Campaign Tuesday in Newark. Alongside other environmental, public health, and advocacy organizations the League of Women Voters encouraged all citizens, community leaders, and elected officials to make the “Clean Air Promise”, a simple promise to safeguard the health of our children and our families through protection of the highly successful and popular Clean Air Act.  The Clean Air Promise, a national campaign, aims to protect the health of children and families across the country from dangerous air pollution.

The campaign comes at a time that some public officials have attempted to undermine the Clean Air Act and strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its ability to limit air pollution and emission of toxics like mercury, arsenic and other dangerous substances which threaten public health.

“For too long, the debate about pollution has focused on “overregulation” and featured false assertions that environmental protections hurt our economy,” said Toni Zimmer, president of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. “The fact is clean air saves lives and we must put the safety of our families and children first.”

According to a report released by the EPA, the Clean Air Act saved 160,000 lives in 2010 alone. “The EPA’s report outlines not only the health benefits of the Clean Air Act, but the economic benefits as well. In 2010 alone, the Clean Air Act prevented 13 million lost work days saving on health care costs and making for a healthier, and more productive work force,” added Zimmer.

“As the mother of three asthmatic children, I understand all too well the harmful effects of air pollution,” stated Kim Gaddy, Chair of the Newark Environmental Commission.  “I understand staying up nights with a child that can’t breathe.  We must, for the sake of our children, protect the clean air act.”

Air quality in Newark is especially poor and one in four children in the city suffers from asthma. Ana Baptista of the Ironbound Community Corporation added, “In the Ironbound we see daily reminders of the deleterious effects of toxic air pollution on our most vulnerable residents, children, and seniors. Our children grow up in an environment where they must come indoors for recess on days when there are ozone alerts and the air quality is poor. We must take a stand to protect Clean Air for the health and well being of our communities.”

However, there is still more work to be done. “Power plants are the leading source of toxic air pollution for children and families in New Jersey,” said Debbie Mans, New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. “Air toxics from coal-fired power plants cause cancer, birth defects, and respiratory illness, including asthma.  We urge every citizen, public official and community leader to sign the Clean Air Promise and protect the air we breathe.”

“I encourage all New Jerseyans, including our elected officials, community leaders, and business leaders, to join with the League of Women Voters of New Jersey in making a promise to keep us all safe from toxics and pollutants. Make the promise to show your support of clean air policies and other protections that scientists and public health experts have recommended to the EPA. Visit www.peoplenotpolluters.org today and let the country know New Jersey demands clean air” concluded Zimmer.

Watch a video of Toni at the rally.

Get Involved – Join the League of Women Voters of New Jersey!

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