Groups Honor Maryland House Speaker for Healthy Air Act Role

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   July 20, 2006
Contact:  

Joy Oakes, NPCA, 202-329-6815



Groups Honor Maryland House Speaker for Healthy Air Act Role

Unhealthy Summer Smog Underscores Importance of 2006 Legislation

As officials advise residents to take precautions during a week of high temperatures and "unhealthy air" advisories, healthy air advocates today recognized Speaker of the Maryland House Michael Busch’s leadership in the successful effort to advance clean air solutions in this year’s General Assembly.

"Speaker Busch’s contribution to the Healthy Air Act and the effort to clean up the Chesapeake Bay is second to none," said former U.S. Senator Joseph Tydings. "Without his strong and consistent support, this bill could not have passed."

The Healthy Air Act is the strongest state legislation in the country to limit pollution from power plants. It requires the dirtiest power plants in Maryland to reduce pollution that is a major cause of smog, soot, the "dead zone" in the Chesapeake Bay, mercury contamination of fish, and pollution in Maryland’s national parks. In addition, the Act requires Maryland to join a regional global warming agreement that recently was finalized by seven other states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

"By enacting the Maryland Healthy Air Act, the legislature has taken great strides toward improving the health, productivity, and quality of life for all Maryland residents," said Brenda Afzal of the Maryland Nurses Association.

Since May 1, about seven of every 10 days in Maryland have had poor air quality, including 47 "Code Yellow" days (moderate health concern for especially sensitive individuals), 6 "Code Orange" days (members of sensitive groups, such as people with lung or heart disease, may experience health effects), 2 "Code Red" days (everyone may experience health effects), and 1 "Code Purple" day (everyone may experience more severe health effects).

"The Healthy Air Act will help reduce both nitrogen and mercury pollution going into the Chesapeake Bay," said Kim Coble of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. "Also of great significance, this law enables Maryland to take our first steps to fight rising water levels and other results of global warming."

"When history looks at Speaker Busch’s career highlights, the Healthy Air Act will be one of his most significant achievements," said Jennifer Bevan-Dangel of Environment Maryland.

Participants in today’s event included:

The Hon. Joseph Tydings

Brenda Afzal, Maryland Nurses Association

Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, Environment Maryland

Kim Coble, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Claire Douglass, Chesapeake Climate Action Network

Joy Oakes, National Parks Conservation Association

Ed Osann, Potomac Resources

David Prosten, Sierra Club

Coalition members are holding a series of events to thank key legislative leaders in the healthy air campaign. The next event is Tuesday, July 25, in Bowie.The Healthy Air Coalition includes health professionals, park advocates, hunters, anglers, conservationists, the faith community, outdoor recreation enthusiasts, community advocates, good government groups, labor, and environmentalists that together advocate that Maryland’s dirtiest polluters clean up their air pollution for the health of our children, communities, economy and environment.

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