In Walker’s Wisconsin, about 2.2 million Wisconsinites live in areas with air quality considered unhealthy and more than 100,000 Wisconsin kids are suffering from pediatric asthma. Meanwhile, Walker rolled back progress on clean energy, so Wisconsin continues to get 75 percent of its energy from coal, natural gas, and petroleum, which generate the soot and smog pollution that threatens Wisconsinites. Increasingly, frac sand mining is also posing a significant threat to air quality and public health in western Wisconsin. Instead of working to reduce these threats, Walker has asked the EPA to roll back air protections to make room for Foxconn, a major new source for smog in a county already ranked among the worse for air quality in the state. In Walker’s Wisconsin, it’s becoming increasingly harder to breathe.
1. Walker opened the door to more frac sand mining
The Walker Administration has let polluting frac sand mines off the hook while Wisconsinites breathe dirty air. Silica dust, a byproduct of mining, can cause silicosis – an incurable lung disorder – as well as cancer and lung scarring. Under Walker, Wisconsin has refused to adopt health-based standards for silica dust as other states like Texas have done. When the scary substance showed up in the New Auburn school district’s air filters, school officials were understandably concerned. It fell on the school’s superintendent to purchase higher quality air filters to prevent children from breathing in carcinogens. The district paid double the price of normal filters, costing $1,500 per year. Because of low air quality standards, the district was forced to allocate education funds to ensure basic safety.
2. Walker hid the evidence of air pollution
Walker signed a bill in March of 2017 (2017 Act 466) that prohibits the Department of Natural Resources from submitting to the EPA air pollution data from a monitoring site at Kohler-Andrae State Park because it shows unhealthy levels of pollution. The law hides evidence of air pollution in an attempt to skirt compliance with federal Clean Air Act standards and allow more pollution in the area. Unsafe levels of pollution can cause premature death for those with existing respiratory and pulmonary health conditions. Long-term exposure to unsafe levels of pollution can permanently damage the lungs and hearts of children. Walker’s signature on this piece of legislation will make it harder for kids to breathe.
To be continued…
There’s so much more to learn about the damage Walker has done to Wisconsin. Every two weeks – until Wisconsin has a new governor – new items will be added to the Walker’s Wisconsin pages. Sign up for emails to get a heads up when we do. Check out more of Walker’s Wisconsin!
- State of the Air 2018, American Lung Association, http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/sota/city-rankings/states/wisconsin/
- 2018, https://www.eia.gov/state/print.php?sid=WI