One of the things we Mainers love best is the scenic beauty of our state. And not much beats being outside and taking a deep breath of fresh air.

But the air quality in our great state, which brands itself as enviromentally friendly and a conservator of natural resources, isn’t as pure as it could be.

Especially in York County where the American Lung Association of the Northeast gave the area’s ozone level a failing grade.

The organization handed out As, Bs and Cs to the rest of the state but a big, fat F to our part of the state.

While we enjoy many advantages living in industrialized societies, one of biggest drawbacks is the pollution emitted in the course of our daily lives from cars, oil used to keep our homes warm and more. Much of the pollution also comes from the big power plants that keep our modern comforts coming.

In August, President Barack Obama took an important step in the battle for the health of the Earth and humanity and against the potential devastation of significant climate change. He announced the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. Under the plan, by the year 2030, states must reduce the amount of carbon pollution emitted by power plants to 32 percent below 2005 levels.

The plan sets the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution stemming from power plants.

Maine had already taken some strides prior to the announcement of the plan to curb carbon emissions, and will be credited for that work. In addition, the state doesn’t have coal-powered plants, which are seen as one of the worst offenders in terms of polluting the planet.

But the state, and hopefully York County, will be a beneficiary of reduced carbon emissions elsewhere, as Beth Ahearn, the policy director with the Maine Conservation Alliance blames much of the state’s pollution problems on emissions released from other parts of the country, coal plants in the Midwest in particular.

Dr. Marguerite Pennoyer, a Scarborough physician specializing in immunology is also a supporter of the Clean Power Plan. She said Maine has one of the highest asthma rates in the country, and blames pollution for the increase and the high rates.

According to the American Lung Association of the Northeast, “carbon pollution is a major contributor to warmer temperatures and climate change.”

The warmer air combines with gasses from smokestacks and tailpipes increasing ozone pollution, which the Lung Association says acts like a “sunburn on the lungs.”

It also contributes to things like forest fires and extending the pollen season, that can also negatively effect health.

According to the White House, implementation of the plan would prevent up to 3,600 premature deaths, 1,700 non-fatal heart attacks, 90,00 asthma attacks in children and 300,00 missed work and school days.

Some, like U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, are critical of the plan. He says the Clean Power Plan is “overreaching” and could cause job losses and increase the cost of energy.

But Ahearn disagrees. She said the plan will create more energy efficiency jobs and lead to lower energy costs.

But it is the health risks she is most concerned about, which we agree with.

Like Ahearn, we hope that because of the many benefits of the Clean Power Plan Maine’s congressional delegation, particularly Maine’s Republican U.S. senator Susan Collins, backs the plan when called upon.

Then when we next take a deep breath of fresh Maine air, we can do so without any qualms and know that it is truly healthy.