Letter: Clean Power Plan offers chance to reduce pollution, improve health

Dr. Ashok Patel Mayors Medal of Honor

National Respiratory Care Week 2015 is taking place Oct. 25 to Oct. 31 with health organizations across the country hosting events and campaigns highlighting the relationship between clean air and respiratory health.

The incidence of asthma, allergies, worsening chronic lung disease, stroke and heart disease is rising worldwide. Increased greenhouse gases, including carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants, are significant contributors to these complex lung and heart health concerns.

Until August 2015, there were no national controls on dangerous carbon pollution from these power plants, but the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan changes that. Implementation of the plan will result in limits on the amount of pollution that can be dumped or pumped into our air. According to the EPA, a strong Clean Power Plan will prevent 90,000 asthma attacks, 1,700 heart attacks, up to 3,600 premature deaths and 300,000 missed work and school days across the country.

Now as Minnesota develops a plan to meet the Clean Power Plan's responsible limits, I urge those interested in preventive health, as well as Gov. Mark Dayton and his air quality agency, to engage in writing a plan that ensures our fellow citizens and future generations have healthy air to breathe.

Dr. Ashok Patel


Chairman of the Zumbro Valley Medical Society's Environmental Medicine Committee


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