Letters to the editor
Posted: January 26, 2013
Air quality at risk?
Tired about hearing about Congress battling over the budget? Don’t tune out just yet — the next couple months will be crucial for our health here at home, and we need to make our voices heard.
The bill Congress passed to avert the “fiscal cliff” was, in part, a temporary measure, as it delayed for two months a set of deep, automatic spending cuts. Now the House and Senate have to pass a permanent budget solution that averts these cuts. And it might impact the very air we breathe.
According to the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, the automatic cuts would take more than $100 million from EPA’s air program, drastically reducing their budgets for supporting state and local governments’ monitoring programs, issuing permits, and enforcing existing clean air rules.
One of the things that funding does is allow state and local air agencies to monitor the levels of soot, smog, and other pollution in our air, like they do at our local monitoring station in Frederick County.
That information allows them to issue alerts on unhealthy air days, like the three orange alert days we saw in 2011. Those alerts could save people from asthma attacks, permanent lung damage, or even premature death.
And because everyone is at risk of damage from air pollution, we all have the right to know the dangerous substances in the air we breathe. We need to let Sens. Warner and Kaine and Rep. Wolf know that we won’t let them put our air quality and health on the chopping block. Visit www.fighting forair.org to weigh in.
Pharmacist and American Lung
Association, Virginia Leadership
Sen. Vogel takes advantage
Sen. Jill Vogel and her 19 fellow state senators had their own inaugural ball in Richmond on Monday. They waited until a Democratic senator was absent to push through, without public hearing and with limited debate, a full-scale rewrite of legislative districts, moving 45 percent of voters across the state into new districts in an attempt to grab power.
Republicans pushed through the move without the support of Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling. “While Lt. Gov. Bolling can vote to break ties,” spokeswoman Ibbie Hedrick said, he “has grave concerns about the adoption of a revised redistricting plan at this point in the process, and it is not something he supported” (Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star, Jan. 22).
In addition, Gov. McDonnell indicated he had not been advised until just before the vote.
Sen. Vogel and her friends, in carrying out the coup, have severely damaged the chances of working with Democrats in a bipartisan manner. Hopefully, this bill will be vetoed by the governor so we can get back to concentrating on work for the people of Virginia.