Sen. Susan Collins has introduced legislation that will curb the modest protections Maine families need to keep the air we breathe healthy.

I’ve seen the great work Collins can do when fighting for Maine’s students, but this time she is out of step with the expectations of her constituents.

As a 25-year volunteer with the American Lung Association and a visiting scientist in environmental and occupational health at the Harvard School of Public Health, I have closely studied the effects of air-borne pollutants.

Toxic emissions from industrial boilers and coal-fired plants are hurting the health of Mainers in real, measurable and costly ways.

Pollution does not respect state boundaries, and particulate emissions originating in the Midwest come into our state. We know that the resulting unhealthy air, which ends up in our lungs, has a devastating impact on public health, especially respiratory function.

The 120,000 Maine adults and 25,000 Maine kids with asthma suffer some of the worst effects, but they are not alone.

Every day scientists gather new data about the sources of air pollution and its effects. Scientists and engineers also are learning new and better ways to reduce particulate emissions.

We must demand that the best and latest science and accessible clean technology solutions are used to keep the air we breathe in Maine healthy.

Unfortunately, Collins’ legislation will prevent that, casting aside decades of scientific knowledge and technological advances, and letting polluters off the hook. I hope she will reconsider her position and stand up for the health of Maine families.

Peter Doran


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