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Sarah H., MA

I am very concerned about air quality, as both a parent and a grandparent. My daughter lived in Agawam Massachusetts with her two children for five years and both of them have been diagnosed with asthma. My daughter had no history of any respiratory issues, but she had several respiratory issues while living in Agawam.

In August 2011, I transferred from Dean College in Franklin, Massachusetts to the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, so I could be closer to my grandchildren. Since living here, I too have had some respiratory issues, and on hot days I find it necessary to stay inside with the air conditioner on. I have never had a problem with the heat, but here the air quality is so poor that it is difficult to breathe when it gets hot.

I got an email from the Sierra Club with information on a coal plant here in the Pioneer Valley that has wreaked havoc on the health of the people living in Pioneer Valley – especially children and the elderly. Their website tells you they are located on an "80-acre tract of scenic woodland lying between Mt. Tom and an S-curve in the Connecticut River." I must admit it is beautiful to look at, and they have scenic hiking trails, but what good is that if you cannot breathe?

There is nothing more important to me than my children, grandchildren, organic food, and a healthy environment.

First published: August 14, 2013

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