Buffalo News (Letter to the editor): Adopt stronger rules to reduce air pollution

(August 6, 2011)


August 6, 2011

The American Lung Association applauds the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency for adopting the Cross-State Air Pollution rule, which will dramatically lower pollution levels in New York and save lives. As EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck pointed out in the July 26 Another Voice column, New York’s position downwind from polluting states affects our air quality and threatens our lung health.

The Lung Association’s 2011 State of the Air Report found that more than 9 million New Yorkers—nearly half of the state’s residents—live in areas where air pollution endangers their lives and health. In fact, the report included the Buffalo-Niagara-Cattaraugus area among the list of most polluted cities for ozone; it ranked 76th most polluted out of 228 total metro areas nationwide. What’s more, out of the 16 New York counties that received a failing grade for air quality, four were located in Western New York.

As we continue to advocate for strong state and local regulations that protect us from pollutants originating within our borders, it’s equally important that we have a strong Clean Air Act and strong federal regulations that protect us from air pollution that makes its way here from old, dirty coal-fired power plants in the Midwest.

There are an estimated 2.5 million New Yorkers who suffer from lung disease and many more who are affected by air pollution. We look forward to the EPA’s implementation of the Cross-State Air Pollution rule and remain hopeful that the agency will quickly adopt a more stringent standard for ozone.

Irwin Berlin, M. D.
Board Chairman, American Lung Association in New York