Red Carriage Takes Fight for Clean Air to Capitol

(March 29, 2012)

Following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) roll-out of the first standards on power plant carbon pollution, the American Lung Association’s Red Carriage rolled to Capitol Hill to take the fight for clean air right to Congress’s doorstep. The new protections EPA announced are expected to help reduce harmful smog, which leads to childhood asthma attacks and complications for those with lung disease.

Red CarriageLung Association supporters, volunteers and staff took the healthy air message to Congress’ doorstep. Click here to see entire photo.

On March 28, more than 100 doctors, nurses, clean air advocates and American Lung Association staff and volunteers from 34 states gathered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to show their support for clean air protections. After stops across the country earlier this month, the Lung Association’s iconic Red Carriage made its way back to D.C., kicking off a day of advocacy initiatives with the unfurling of a giant banner in front of the Capitol. For more than a year now, the Lung Association has been fighting against attempts in Congress to weaken clean air protections, and these events come at a time of heightened attention to the issue.

 Despite our presence and overwhelming support for clean air protections, big polluters and their allies in Congress continue their attacks on the Clean Air Act. The House Energy and Power Subcommittee held a hearing on the Gasoline Regulations Act of 2012. This will not impact today’s gasoline prices but would block air pollution clean-up and eliminate life-saving clean air protections.

“After a year of fighting Congressional attempts to graft a dirty air agenda onto nearly every piece of legislation, our Red Carriage is back in D.C. to show them that we’re not quieting down anytime soon,” said Peter Iwanowicz, head of the American Lung Association’s Healthy Air Campaign. “We took the Red Carriage through states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, which have some of the dirtiest air in the country and placed ads on billboards and television. We want to make sure that Congress knows that the public does not support their attempts at letting big polluters churn out unlimited amounts of dirty air.”

As the Lung Association’s annual Advocacy Day progressed, nearly 150 in-person meetings were held with members of Congress to express why clean air needs to be a priority. Canvassers also flooded the capital area passing out flyers illustrating the devastating number of lives lost to air pollution-related diseases in each state. These flyers reveal that those living in the heartland and eastern states experience the highest concentration of air pollution related fatalities.

“These data demonstrate why current standards, like the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, are so important,” said Peter Iwanowicz. “Soot and smog pollution can travel far from their sources in places like Ohio and Michigan, to other states as far away as Maine and Massachusetts.”

What can you do?

We can’t all go to Washington, but we all can make our voices heard! Tell Your Senators: Protect Us from Toxic Air Pollution from Power Plants. The U.S. Senate may vote soon on legislation (S.J. Res. 37), introduced by Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, that would permanently block the EPA’s lifesaving toxic air pollution standards for coal- and oil-fired power plants. Please speak out against Sen. Inhofe’s extreme measure to permanently roll back these important safeguards that protect public health. You can help save lives and protect public health, our children, and our communities from toxic air pollution. Go here to take action