LWV president speaks against curbing clean air policies

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN – Speaking on keeping air quality a priority and protecting agencies that enforce clean air laws, the national president of the League of Women Voters visited the city Nov. 15 to rally residents to her side.

Georgia native Elisabeth MacNamara, elected President of the league in 2010, spoke during a presentation at the Environmental Interpretive Center at University of Michigan-Dearborn, 4901 Evergreen, about the need to preserve clean air and stop legislative attacks on the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In September, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act, introduced by state Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.). The bill would create a committee to oversee the EPA and require the agency to consider economic impacts when it sets pollution regulations.

More than 170 bills aimed at curbing the EPA have come before the U.S. House of Representatives this year. House Republicans said in the media the EPA has tried to legislate rather than take direction from the U.S. Congress.

MacNamara disagrees with the bills, which seek to curtail the ability of the EPA to limit air pollution and said without the support of elected officials, air quality could be compromised.

A survey by the American Lung Administration in February revealed that over 70 percent of voters want to see the EPA run as is.

“The EPA doesn’t need to do less, it needs to do more,” she said. “Across the political spectrum, voters want the EPA to do its job.”

MacNamara said people mostly shake their heads and ask why they should care when she brings up the campaign to protect the Clean Air Act, which allowed the EPA to enact National Ambient Air Quality Standards to protect public health.

She said that the campaign is an issue of of public health and when the act faced pressure from lawmakers this year, the league made it clear the needs and health of American people should be prioritized.

She said she hopes residents of Michigan agree to the Clean Air Promise, a nationwide campaign in which elected officials and community leaders demand cleaner air.

“(It will) to allow ordinary citizens and elected officials from all forms of government to stand up and say ‘Yes, we do support the EPA and the Clean Air Act,’” she said. “And we’re going to demonstrate this by re-commiting to each other that promise … to protect your public health.”

(Daniel Heraty can be reached at dheraty@bewickpublications.com.)