To the Editor:
It has been startling to learn that Rhode Island's Kent, Providence, and Washington Counties all received “F” grades from the American Lung Association in 2011 for smog pollution. Numerous health studies have linked smog to asthma and other respiratory ailments.
Fortunately, President Obama recently began a drive to reduce the amount of gasoline burned in our cars and trucks – one of the largest contributors to smog pollution. The President’s announcement of a new 54.5 miles-per-gallon standard by 2025 could go a long way toward ensuring we significantly reduce the amount of smog produced in the transportation sector. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, this new standard has the potential to cut our annual gasoline use by 23 billion gallons.
Now as the finer details of the proposal are worked out, it's up to President Obama to defend against potential loopholes that could undermine these pollution reductions. The stronger this groundbreaking standard is, the less smog we will have to breathe in our air.
Field Associate, Environment Rhode Island