September 1997, Volume 4, number 7
The efforts of clean-air champions in the House and Senate were critical to the successful fight for stricter standards regulating smog and soot. The Sierra Club recognizes the hard work of Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) and Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.) and Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio).
After Clinton's endorsement of the standards, Marie Dolcini,
former senior editor at The Planet, spoke with Kucinich about his role in the battle. Here is her report.
Soon after winning his seat in Congress last fall, Dennis Kucinich took up the contentious issue of tougher standards for smog and soot. By June, this freshman from the industrial heartland was leading the charge in Congress for clean air.
"This area was built with and through industry,"said Kucinich of his largely manufacturing-based district, "and I'm aware of the central role that industry has in the community. But IÕm backing the new health-based standards because I feel we have a moral obligation to protect the environment and challenge what I believe is old, 19th-century thinking that pits industry against the environment and looks at pollution as the price of jobs.
"Industries understand that if they can improve manufacturing processes and capture resources, they can increase profits and be more competitive,"he said.
"Industry's attack is specious. Some attackers have even gone so far as to argue that more smog means less melanoma. We need to challenge this old, decrepit thinking aimed only at protecting profits at the expense of citizen health. Environmentalists and the Sierra Club are leading the way.
"We worked together closely with the Club in debunking the various claims that were out there and in opposition to industry's smoke machine. Citizen pressure proved a big influence in the outcome."
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