Recently the Supreme Court upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s statutory authority under the Clean Air Act to set strong public health safeguards against air pollution that drifts over state lines.

Estimated to avoid 34,000 premature deaths annually, the EPA’s Cross State Air Pollution rule was attacked in Congress and then again in courts by the coal industry and other polluters. This is a big win for states like Maine that are downwind from dozens of power plants and industrial smokestacks.

This Supreme Court decision strengthens the EPA’s authority to limit other air pollution that threatens public health, like CO2 pollution from power plants.

The decision comes at a critical time, according to the American Lung Association’s annual “State of the Air” report, which found that the nation’s air quality worsened from 2010 to 2012, and 47 percent of the nation lives in an area where pollution levels are often too dangerous to breathe.

Here in Maine, Cumberland, York and Hancock counties were found to have the poorest air quality in the state, with more high-ozone days and more particle pollution than any other counties in Maine. This makes sense, given the country’s wind patterns. The Supreme Court’s decision is good news for Maine and the Northeast.

Now the Obama administration is working on air pollution safeguards to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the nation’s power plants. The single largest source of CO2 air pollution in the country, power plants are currently allowed to dump unlimited amounts of CO2 into the air. This is polluting our air, making people sick and fueling climate change.

I urge Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King to support the EPA’s efforts to regulate CO2 from both existing and new power plants. It’s the right thing to do.

Gillian Carter

Kittery