OUR VIEW: Acid rain battle must be continued

UTICA, NY — “Earlier this week, the Adirondack Council joined with the state of Maryland and a coalition of environmental and health organizations to file a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its failure to require Midwest power plants to turn on already-installed pollution control equipment at power plants that burn coal.

Turning on the equipment is required under the Clean Air Act. Air pollution from the Midwest smokestacks harms the Adirondack Park and sensitive areas throughout the Northeast. Many Adirondack lakes — and the fish and plant life they support — have been devastated over the years by acid rain, created when the coal-burning plants spew sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides into the air. The toxins are carried east by prevailing winds and fall to earth as acid rain, virtually wiping out aquatic life in many lakes and ponds throughout the park.

Back in the 1980s and 90s, former Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-New Hartford, led efforts to pass landmark clean-air legislation to battle what he called ‘a cancer in the sky.’ But acid rain is an insidious enemy, and even decades after clean-air legislation took effect, many lakes have been slow to recover.

Nature heals slowly. And in ensuing years, other legislators representing parts of the Adirondack Park — former Rep. John McHugh, R-Watertown, and former Rep. Michael Arcuri, D-Utica — worked to strengthen clean-air legislation to protect the park.

The EPA’s failure to enforce use of the already-installed pollution control equipment at power plants that burn coal is a giant step backward.”

— editorial, Utica Observer-Dispatch

link to full editorial

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