For those of us in Maine, where for far too long we’ve been forced to breathe unhealthy air, polluted with toxic emissions, the last two months of 2011 brought good news.

In November, Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins stood up for us by helping defeat a bill that would have allowed the dirtiest out-of-state coal-fired power plants to keep polluting as usual.

In December, President Barack Obama signed into law the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, which will reduce excessive mercury emissions by 90 percent.

Maine sometimes is referred to as the tailpipe of the nation because wind brings us harmful pollution from other states, leaving us with some of the highest asthma rates in the country and triggering asthma attacks and heart attacks and exacerbating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease symptoms. Soon Maine families will be able to breathe a little easier.

The fight for healthy air, however, is far from over. Powerful lobbyists and several members of Congress are promising to turn back these victories. Even Collins, who stood with Maine families in November, has introduced legislation that would take us in the wrong direction by weakening and delaying healthy emission standards for commercial and industrial boilers.

We need Collins to withdraw that legislation, and we need both Snowe and Collins to continue fight for healthy air.

Judith A. Dorsey

Gardiner


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