Dear Mr. President-
Could you throw us a bone? Please? Citizens have waited patiently (20 years alone on tougher Clean Air Act Standards for mercury and other hazardous pollutants) to have cleaner air (and therefore cleaner water, it is a great 2 for 1 opportunity). Since tougher standards began to be discussed, I have gone through a pregnancy, delivered a baby, and raised that child to be an adult. That seems like enough time to get around to helping all of us have cleaner air to breathe.
It's hard to be patient when the rates of heart and lung disease, stroke, asthma, cancer, developmental problems in newborns and children, continue to increase as a result of dirty air. 20 years.
You can do what's right and change your mind on the smog emissions. Really, we'll forgive you. Everyone makes mistakes.
If you think making this announcement on the Friday afternoon of a long weekend will make the backlash go away, it won't. The American Lung Association has already announced it is heading back to court since it has waited two years while you have promised these things would happen.
I can't wait for November to get here, or maybe not, at this pace, to find out if your Administration is willing to stand up to the big industry lobbyists who think it is o.k. to continue to pollute our air and degrade our natural resources (The New York Times ran a column about that, "Profits Before Environment" earlier this week). One of those industry heavy weights, Chris Hobson of the Southern Company, said that mercury emissions are "hazardous" when he testified in May at the EPA's Public Hearing on the proposed Clean Air Act Standards (his company reported $2B in profits last year while spewing mercury into the air I breathe every day).
And I've tried to be hopeful, really. I think we should get out of Iraq and Afghanistan faster, but I appreciate your concern for protecting Americans and those who will be victims of harsh governments. I was in the trenches with you on health care reform. I urged John Barrow to please do what his constituents thought was best. I've been back to talk to him about the proposed Clean Air Act Standards (his staff probably recognizes my voice now). I asked John to support your efforts to increase the debt ceiling while closing loop holes for companies making billions and paying little or no taxes (you know some of those guys, like Jeffrey Immelt at GE. He's been to your office before to talk about the economy and jobs creation, right?)
So Mr. President, don't mess up in November. Make good on what millions of Americans have waited so patiently for. Tom Pierce may have said it best at the EPA hearing in May when he said, "I would urge you to turn a deaf ear to those who say they need more time to kill us."
And I won't even mention the Tar Sands Pipeline.
Katherine Helms Cummings