After reading your Dec. 12 editorial, “Our View: LePage should sign anti-smog petition,” and following how cross-border air pollution threatens Maine’s air quality, I am completely in the dark as to why the governor is not doing more to advance common-sense public health protections to drive down health care costs.

There is no doubt that Maine should sign on to the petition that urges cuts in ozone-related air pollution by nine states whose coal-fired power plant emissions travel downwind across state lines. Power plants don’t have the right to churn out unlimited quantities of this pollution, which triggers asthma attacks and other complications of lung disease – complications that increase health costs for all of us.

The costs of sitting back and doing nothing to ensure Maine has healthy air now and in the future are tremendous. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that rules currently being considered by higher courts to control cross-border air pollution would save Maine upward of $200 million in future health care costs.

The fiscally responsible choice would be to seize every opportunity to make sure Maine remains in compliance with federal ozone standards – standards that we are just barely meeting.

To do this, we must collaborate with regional partners to limit the toxins that cross state lines. With stronger protections, we can improve health and lower health costs for all of us.

I strongly urge the governor to reconsider his policies on public health and air quality and sign on to this multi-state petition.

Matthew E. Sturgis

chairman, Maine Leadership Board

American Lung Association


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