This week, many US Senators and Representatives cast votes for polluter-driven proposals that put public health at risk by preventing, weakening, or stalling action under the Clean Air Act to reduce dangerous carbon pollution emitted by our nation’s biggest polluters.
As I wrote earlier this week, these votes pitted polluters against … well, the rest of us. And one of the clearest consequences of these votes – were they to become law- would be to make the nation’s asthma epidemic worse, as the National Association of School Nurses, the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments and Health Care Without Harm told us this week.
Now a new website from a coalition of environmental groups (including NRDC) makes it easy to find out who voted for polluters or public health. But it goes further, by looking at how much money each of the “Dirty Air Politicians” who voted for polluters has taken from them. And it lets you know how many kids in their state have asthma, and how many times kids had to be rushed to an emergency room, gasping for breath, because of a severe asthma attack.
The site also keeps a running count of dirty air votes (there have been a few this year) and the aggregate amount from polluters to dirty air politicians, and the number of asthmatic kids put at risk by the votes.
Of course, the site provides the member-by-member detail that people need in order to know how their representatives are voting. Here are some examples from the site – and I’m picking Senators who really should have known better:
Senator Amy Klobuchar voted for two of the dirty air bills this week (two of the bills Senator? Really?) According to the site, Senator Klobuchar, who has taken $46,000 from polluters, put at risk over 118,000 asthmatic kids in Minnesota. Even more alarming, over 11,500 times every year, asthmatic kids in Senator Klobuchar’s state suffered asthma attacks so severe they had to be rushed to the emergency room.
Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania voted for one of the dirty air bills this week. Senator Casey has taken over $100,000 from polluters. It is too bad Senator Casey chose to side with polluters on this vote, since asthma is a serious problem in Pennsylvania. Asthma afflicts over 260,000 kids in the Keystone state; and over 25,000 times every year kids whose asthma is so bad they are gasping for breath have to be rushed to the emergency room.
Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri voted for one of the dirty air bills this week. She has taken over $99,000 from polluters and her vote puts over 130,000 asthmatic kids at risk. Missouri kids whose airways are so constricted they cannot catch their breath are rushed to emergency rooms over 13,240 times a year.
Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan sponsored one of the dirty air bills. She has taken $123,000 from polluters, and represents a state with over 225,000 asthmatic kids that need to visit emergency rooms over 22,000 times in a given year.
Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio voted for one of the dirty air bills. He has taken $more than $59,000 from polluters, and represents a state with over 257,000 asthmatic kids that need to visit emergency rooms over 25,000 times in a given year.
Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts voted for two of the bills (really, what’s the logic in that?) that would result in more pollution. Scott Brown got over $100,000 from polluters. Over 134,000 kids in Massachusetts suffer from asthma, requiring over 13,000 emergency room visits.
Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine voted for one of the dirty air bills. Senator Snowe has taken over $129,000 from polluters. There are over 25,000 asthmatic kids in Maine who require over 2,500 emergency room visits.
Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois voted for one of the dirty air bills. Senator Kirk has taken over $84,000 from polluters. His vote puts at greater risk the over 299,000 asthmatic kids in Illinois who need to visit emergency rooms over 29,000 times a year.
So go check it out, see how your "representatives" voted, and then spread the word. After all, when Congress votes against public health and for polluters, we shouldn't let them keep that a "dirty secret."