Democrats are urging Republicans not to mess with the Clean Air Act. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says legislation proposed by Republicans would delay, roll back or eliminate basic pollution standards that would weaken the government’s ability to ensure clean air and water. Durbin says weakening the Clean Air Act would limit the ability of the EPA to regulate pollutants emitted by coal-fueled power plants, refineries and cement manufacturers.
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That’s not good for those who suffer from asthma. Durbin says in Illinois, the estimated cost of asthma-related hospitalizations in 2007 was more than $280 million. “Reducing air pollution not only improves the lives of patients with asthma and other repertory conditions but also it’s important for general health,” said Dr. Jerry Krishnan, a specialist in asthma. “In fact, studies have shown that reducing air pollution improves overall life expectancy, including in the United States.” Durbin says there are ways to keep burning coal while being environmentally responsible. He recently visited the Prairie State Energy Campus, a 1,200-acre site in Washington County. It’s there that a new coal-fired generation plant meets all required emissions standards. “Prairie State Energy Campus is a clean coal success story that proves job creation doesn’t have to come at the expense of clean air and higher environmental standards,” Durbin said. The Republican bill calls for a moratorium on new federal regulations regarding air and water pollutants until an arbitrary unemployment rate is reached.