Opinion

FEEDBACK | Lawmakers barely rate a ‘D’ for inaction on cleaner air

Author: Colorado Politics - May 17, 2018 - Updated: May 17, 2018

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As a mom who watches Colorado politics, the end of the legislative session feels a bit like the end of the school year before summer break: Some assignments are rushed or go unfinished; some disputes are resolved while others become grudges.

Then it’s time for report cards.

On the issues that we care about, Colorado Moms Know Best gives the 2018 Legislature a solid D.

There is a critical public health issue that didn’t get the attention it needs – clean air. Little or nothing was done to limit pollution from dirty coal-burning plants or other sources, to improve children’s respiratory health, or to expand the use of alternative-fuel vehicles.

Maybe our lawmakers didn’t do their reading. The American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air Report was just released, and the most recent data suggests that Colorado needs to participate more and work to its full potential. Out of 227 metropolitan areas in the U.S., the Denver/Aurora area is the 14th-most polluted. This means that the ozone pollution here is bad enough to cause a list of health problems, particularly for those most at risk, including seniors and our kids. Air pollution exacerbates asthma and other respiratory issues; it causes cardiovascular harm, developmental harm and can even cause premature death.

As a mom, I do what I can to protect my child’s health, but it’s bigger than one person. This needs a statewide solution.

There was a legislative attempt to encourage electric vehicle use — just the kind of solution that could have helped — but unfortunately it was killed in the Senate. The transportation bill contains a small amount of funding for multimodal (things like sidewalks, bike lanes) transportation. This is the effort that brought them up from an F to a D.

I’m disappointed that our legislators have let us down yet again. Every day that children breathe polluted air, more of them are sickened or have an asthma attack potentially causing them to miss school, and the risks of long-term damage goes up. One in 12 Colorado kids suffers from asthma.

Rather than pushing the pervasive problem of pollution off for another year, it needs to be addressed immediately. I implore our elected leaders and decision makers to commit to clean our air. If they don’t, our kids’ health may be held back and the legislature will flunk.

Jen Clanahan
Head Mom, Colorado Moms Know Best
Denver

 


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Colorado Politics

Colorado Politics

Colorado Politics, formerly The Colorado Statesman, is the state's premier political news publication, renowned for its award-winning journalism. The publication is also the oldest political news outlet in the state, in continuous publication since 1898. Colorado Politics covers the stories behind the stories in Colorado's state Capitol and across the Centennial State, focusing on politics, public policy and elections with in-depth reporting on the people behind the campaigns — from grassroots supporters to campaign managers and the candidates and issues themselves.