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‘Toxic’ region must become primary focus

For years many people believed air pollution was a problem that only plagued the most urban parts of our nation. We must think differently — our health depends on it.

A recent report by the Natural Resources Defense Council paints a scary picture when it comes to air quality and toxic emissions from electric-generating plants.

The agency identified its Toxic Twenty, a list of states who were the worst offenders. This is concerning for all who live in the Tri-State.

Kentucky ranked at the top of the list. Ohio was No. 2 and West Virginia was No. 5.

Emissions include mercury, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, ammonia and others. The 20 states accounted for approximately 92 percent of toxic air pollution from these plants.

Health experts and citizens alike have often questioned whether or not the high rate of cancer and other diseases in our area are inflated because the environment. This data certainly shows that could be the case.

This won’t change until citizens, lawmakers and industry leaders sit down at the table together to first acknowledge that there is a problem and then draft achievable steps to address this health hazard.

Simply ignoring the problem decade after decade does nothing and the residents of the Tri-State have, and will continue to, pay the price.

Insisting that we have clean air to breath, clean water to drink and that business and industry are good corporate citizens are not unreasonable requests.

These are not concepts that make someone a radical environmentalist.

Living in a clean and healthy environment should be considered as alienable a right as those protected by the U.S. Constitution.