Reporting Kim Glovas
By Kim Glovas
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania is in the top three states with the most toxic air pollution. That’s according to data released on Thursday by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Clean Air Council.
It’s the second annual report on air pollution using data from 2010. The Toxic Twenty report says Pennsylvania is ranked third behind Kentucky and Ohio for most poisonous air pollution.
John Walke, clean air director of the NRDC, says most of the pollution comes from coal and oil-fired plants. But he says, the percentage of toxic air has gone down by 19-percent from 2009 to 2010. He points to two factors involved.
“The first is the increasing use by power companies of natural gas which is a cheaper and less polluting fuel,” Walke says. “The second factor is the installation of state of the art pollution controls by many plants. Those controls are being installed and will be installed in anticipation of new health safeguards issued by the Environmental Protection Agency.”
But the NRDC’s Franz Matzner says those advances are under attack by lawmakers who side with the polluters.
“We need lawmakers who will help clean up the air that we all breathe,” says Matzner. “Not lawmakers who do the bidding of big polluters trying to repeal these safeguards that protect children’s health.”
The report says lowering air pollution, including mercury and lead, will mean health care savings of up to $90-billion a year, and 11-thousand fewer premature deaths.