U. S. Senate Vote Protects North Carolina from Other States’ Air Pollution
In a 56-41 vote, a bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate today upheld EPA rules that protect North Carolina from harmful air pollution emitted by facilities in other states while also creating new, full-time jobs. Senator Hagan (D-NC) voted to support the “cross-state” rule that protects people’s health, saves lives, and creates jobs while Senator Burr (R-NC) voted to dismantle it.
“We’re encouraged that Senator Hagan stood up for saving people’s lives while creating new jobs at the same time and disappointed that Senator Burr voted against lifesaving protections for his constituents and high tech job creation,” said Nat Mund, legislative director at the Southern Environmental Law Center. “Saving lives and protecting people’s health while creating new, full-time jobs is a basic win-win. It’s irresponsible to put polluters’ profits ahead of peoples’ health.”
The EPA reports that this protection prevents as many as 34,000 premature deaths, 400,000 asthma 15,000 heart attacks, and 19,000 hospital visits each year by limiting harmful air pollution that crosses state lines. Health professionals urged politicians to uphold, without delaying or weakening, these lifesaving protections in a letter signed by organizations including the American Association of Respiratory Care, American College of Preventative Medicine, American Lung Association, American Nurses Association, and Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
In part, the rules stem from North Carolina’s lawsuit against Tennessee and other states to protect its residents and the Blue Ridge Mountains from harmful air pollution and smog. That suit grew out of North Carolina’s landmark Clean Smokestack law, which required power plants in North Carolina to reduce soot and smog pollution.