I’m a grandparent. Two days a week I take care of our grandchildren, who are 1 and 4 years old. They breathe the air. They put toys in their mouths. They drink the water. Their developing bodies, including their brains, could be affected by mercury from Midwest coal-fired power plants, fire-retardant chemicals in their furniture and clothing, pesticides and herbicides in their food, and other pollutants.

Overall, the United States has made great progress in protecting children like them from these chemical dangers through the work of the Environmental Protection Agency, and in Maine, through our own Department of Environmental Protection. We see in countries like India, where more than a million people died last year from the effects of air pollution, what happens when the government fails to regulate air and water pollution. We see in Flint, Michigan, and other cities in our own country what happens when profit becomes more important than childrens’ health, and brain-damaging lead poisoning is the result.

Now, Scott Pruitt has been nominated to head the EPA, a man who has repeatedly sued the EPA to block air quality regulations. Pruitt, as a state attorney general, let oil and gas companies write advocacy letters that he sent out as official statements from his office. And specifically, he has worked to block the Clean Power Plan, which would reduce mercury emissions from power plants in the Midwest. The prevailing winds bring that mercury to Maine, into the air my grandchildren breathe and into their developing brains.

Our children and grandchildren are our greatest asset, and we have a responsibility to keep them safe. Please help them by protecting regulations that keep our air and water clean.

Stan Davis

Wayne