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Generation Latino Clean Air
Motorists guide their vehicles on Interstate 25, as the skyline of Denver rises in the background. The American Lung Association’s 2017 clean air report released late Tuesday says Denver has the nation's 11th-worst ozone levels. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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Generation Latino thinks it’s a shame that clean air can’t rise above partisanship

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The American Lung Association’s State of Air Report this week said the Denver-Aurora area and Fort Collins still have some of the worst air in the country. Generation Latino thinks ozone should rise above politics.

Though the numbers are improving, Denver still ranks 11th for the worst ozone pollution in the country, and Fort Collins is 15th.

But for Generation Latino, a millennial political organization based in Denver, it’s also a racial issue.

“What stood out to me as a mother and a Latina is that the areas that are most impacted by poor air quality are also the areas where many Latino families reside,” said the organization’s executive director, Maria Handley. “We must continue to work to clean our air.”

The organization argues that if President Trump cuts money for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and it can’t fund air-quality programs, “Our families will see asthma and mortality rates continue to rise. It is unfathomable that clean air has become a partisan issue.”

Generation Latino leans left.

The report states that about 24,000 in Denver-Aurora area with breathing problems are at risk because of the high ozone readings, which have shown improvement.

“I hope to see our local leaders take the lead and work together to find ways to fund clean energy resources, responsible transportation infrastructure and pollutant clean up,” Handley said.

Trump vowed he wants clean air and water at a time he’s rolling back environmental regulations and eying deep cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, even possibly closing Denver’s EPA office that covers seven Western states.

The American Lung Association said protecting the Clean Air Act is one of the most important efforts to continue to improve air quality.

“Our nation’s continued air quality improvement shown in the ‘State of the Air 2017’ report is possible only because of the Clean Air Act, a strong public health law put in place by an overwhelming bipartisan majority in Congress more than 45 years ago,” the association said in the report. “Congress wrote the Clean Air Act to set up science-based, technology-fostering steps to protect public health by reducing pollution. Under the Clean Air Act, Congress
directed that the EPA and each state take steps to clean up the air.

“Unfortunately, some in Congress seek changes to the Clean Air Act that would dismantle key provisions of the law and threaten progress made over nearly five decades. To protect the lives and health of millions of Americans, Congress must protect the Clean Air Act — making certain it remains strong, fully implemented and enforced.”

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