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Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney urges the EPA to protect DeKalb County's air quality

May 10, 2002

(Decatur, Georgia) In a letter to EPA Region IV Administrator, James Palmer, Representative McKinney requested the EPA to address the growing problem of air pollution in her district and to protect the environmental rights of her constituents.

"I do not believe that enough is being done to safeguard the health of DeKalb's residents, especially in light of recent air quality statistics. I am deeply concerned that the residents of DeKalb County are being subjected to dangerous cancer risks that could be avoided," stated McKinney.

The American Lung Association in a report titled State of the Air 2002, recently ranked DeKalb County 16th on the list of the 25 most ozone-polluted US counties. Air pollution has been known to cause a variety of health problems, including bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, emphysema and cancer. According to information compiled by Environmental Defense, DeKalb County residents face a cancer risk more than 100 times greater than the goal set by the Clean Air Act.

"The people of DeKalb County must be afforded environmental protections that safeguard our ability to enjoy the outdoors without being concerned with jeopardizing our health. The right to clean air must be considered an unalienable right afforded to us all, and I challenge the EPA to address this growing problem with the urgency that it requires. When it comes to our children, who are especially susceptible to the negative effects of air pollution, I believe we must be diligent in our efforts to maintain an air quality level that does not put their health and safety at risk. It is not fair for our children to have to deal with the environmental burdens that result from our lack of planning and foresight, " concluded Congresswoman McKinney.

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