By Carol McCracken (Post # 644)
At a noontime rally today at Monument Square in downtown Portland, Eliot R. Cutler, recalled his days working in Washington, D.C. for the late Senator Ed Muskie as the Chief legislative aide to him. In that position, he helped Muskie craft a piece of legislation that would be passed and become law in 1970 – known as the Clearn Air Act. Cutler urged Senators Snowe and Collins to stand up for public health by not giving in to those who are expected to introduce an amendment to the Clean Air Act that would undermine its effectiveness any day now. “I’m delighted to be here today to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Clean Air Act. Happy birthday. It’s too young to die,” said Cutler in his introductory remarks.
Nathaniel Meyer, field associate for Environment Maine, who hosted the rally said: “Our message today is clear: For 40 years, the Clean Air Act has protected our health and our environment by cutting dangerous pollution. Mainers will not stand by and let the law be gutted by Big Oil and other polluters. We’re calling on Senators Snowe and Collins to protect Mainers’ health and our environment by voting against attempts to weaken the Clean Air Act and let polluters off the hook.”
In a letter dated November 15, addressed to President Obama and the US Congress, five of Maine’s Health Organizations and a large number of Maine Health Professionals from all over the state, petitioned them to oppose any efforts to weaken, delay or block the EPA from protecting the public’s health from health risks caused by climate change.
“Unfortunately, some polluters don’t want to have to clean up their act, so they’re pressuring their representatives to undermine these critical, common sense protections,” said Dr. Lani Graham, Co-chair of the Public Health Committee for the Maine Medical Association. “Senators Snowe and Collins should vote against these attacks on the Clean Air Act.”
According to the Office of Management and Budget, in economic terms, the Clean Air Act has saved tens of trillions of dollars by preventing illnesses and keeping Americans out of hospitals and in schools and on the job. It has also helped create new industries and green jobs that annually generate billions of dollars in revenue. “Government studies show that the benefits of Clean Air Act programs have outweighed their costs by as much as a 42-1 margin,” said Meyer.