The Natural Resources Defense Council launched an eight-week, multi-state, ad campaign today to exert pressure on Sens. Scott Brown, R-Mass., and Bob Casey, D-Pa., to promise to protect children and other vulnerable Americans from dirty air.
These two senators represent states with high air pollution that threatens health, yet they have not demonstrated a clear commitment to support policies that reduce toxic emissions such as mercury, arsenic and other substances.
“Kids need stronger protections from dirty air pollution that worsens asthma, causes learning and developmental disorders and leads to thousands of deaths every year,” said Pete Altman, climate campaign director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “We need leaders in Congress who will fight for clean air, and not side with big polluters like American Electric Power, which has been lobbying Congress to relax critical pollution safeguards.”
The NRDC billboards and online banner ads portray children asking Casey, Brown and Columbus, Ohio-based AEP, one of America’s largest coal-burning utilities, to “promise to protect kids like me from dangerous air pollution.”
One billboard each will go up in Boston; Springfield, Mass; Columbus, Ohio; and Scranton, Penn., and banner ads will run at PittsburghLive.com; TheTimesTribune.com (Scranton); the Dispatch.com (Columbus); and on ParentsConnect.com targeting each location.
The ads are part of the Clean Air Promise Campaign, a drive supported by 18 leading public health, advocacy and environmental organizations, to urge public officials along with business, education and community leaders to make a commitment to protect children and families from air pollution.
The ads focus on Casey, Brown and AEP because of the documented air pollution problems in their states. Ohio and Pennsylvania top the list of states with the most air pollution from coal-and oil-fired power plants, according to an NRDC report released in June. In Massachusetts, power plants are the leading source of toxic industrial pollution, according to the same report.
This year, Ohio communities have experienced more than 50 “code orange” days when the air is unsafe for kids to breathe; Pennsylvania had at least 49 “code orange” days while Massachusetts has had 21 such days.
Children and asthmatics are among the most vulnerable to air pollution. More than 120,000 kids in Massachusetts suffer from asthma, in Ohio more than 250,000 children have asthma and in Pennsylvania, 285,000 children have asthma.