The state of Maine has long been referred to as “America’s tailpipe” because the emissions from fossil-fueled power plants west of Maine travel on the Gulf Stream and settle here. Maine has a high asthma rate and higher-than-average cancer rate in part because those harmful emissions are in our air and absorbed into our soil, water, fish and plants.

Each year there are days when children, the ill and the elderly are advised to stay indoors to minimize their exposure to the polluted air. Children and pregnant women are advised to limit their consumption of Maine fish.

The recently finalized Clean Power Plan is projected to slash harmful emissions by 30 percent over the next 15 years by requiring power plants to meet emissions standards. (See the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Overview of the Clean Power Plan” for more details.)

States and utilities will be provided the time and flexibility to implement the plan while maintaining a reliable and affordable supply of energy. Unfortunately, the fossil fuel industry and its allies in Congress have brought a lawsuit to try to stop the Clean Power Plan.

If you value Maine’s air and your health, please call or write U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, thank them for defending the Clean Power Plan and ask them to continue to do so and to support other clean energy, such as solar and wind. It will improve the quality of our state’s air, water and soil and thus the health of all Maine’s plants, animals, children, women and men, and our tourists and guests.

Connie Allen