U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said he would vote to uphold a new federal clean air rule "because healthier air means better jobs for Tennesseans—every one of Tennessee's major metropolitan areas is struggling to meet standards that govern whether industries can acquire the air quality permits to locate here."
In remarks delivered on the floor of the senate, Alexander said, "This rule requires utilities in other states to install the same pollution controls that TVA already is installing on its coal-fired power plants. TVA alone can't clean up our air. Tennessee is bordered by more states than any other state. We are surrounded by our neighbors' smokestacks. If we want more Nissan and Volkswagen plants, we will have to stop dirty air from blowing into Tennessee."
Please watch this video with an open mind.
Three of the worst cities for asthma in the country are in Tennessee; Chattanooga, Knoxville and Memphis. Some of our rivers are so polluted with mercury that one can not eat the fish from those rivers. Mercury causes brain damage in more than 315,000 children a year and half of the man made mercury comes from coal fired power plants.
The proposed regulations to clean up coal plants has been in the works since 1990. This is not a surprise. These rules are not draconian. The utility companies will have six years to implement the rules.
Unfortunately, in today's extreme partisan environment and with a right wing political fringe that attacks any environment initiative as either Agenda 21 policies or a War on Coal designed to make coal too expensive to burn, we are seeing the tea party and many others on the right taking up the cause of dirty air.
I am not joining the war for dirty air. I applaud Senator Alexander for advocating for clean air.