Letter: Health impacts of coal pollution must be mitigated – Billings Gazette, June 23, 2013

June 24, 2013

Categories: Clean Energy, Coal, Letters


The corporate-minded debate over carbon pollution standards for coal-fired power plants fails to acknowledge the science at the core of this rule-making process. The mission of the Clean Air Act is laser-focused on protecting public health. As our scientific knowledge evolves, so too does our understanding of how air pollution negatively impacts public health.

Our being situated in coal territory does not exempt us from addressing the very real health consequences associated with coal. The technology to clean up carbon smokestack emissions, which contain the essential ingredients that complete the formation of ozone and particle pollution, already exists — meaning we can and should have healthy air today.

Recent polling data show the majority of Americans support this carbon cleanup effort, which also happens to be a legal requirement of the Clean Air Act. Those who are working to block or delay implementation of carbon reduction are responsible for the serious air pollution-caused health problems I see regularly in my practice, from severe asthma attacks to worsening of cardiovascular disease in the parents and grandparents of my patients. It’s time our government decision-makers start listening to doctors and health care providers instead of corporate lobbyists.

Lori Byron, M.D.

220 South 27th Street, Suite A
Billings, Montana 59101
(406) 248-1154