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Stephen Spellman, M.D., Published January 30 2012

Rick Berg sides with the polluters

In his recent letter to The Forum, Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D., stated that one of his initiatives for this coming year would be to prevent the implementation of the new EPA regulations mandating the cleaning up of the emissions from North Dakota’s power plants. Berg affirms that the EPA rules would force the power companies to spend $700 billion to comply and in doing so would harm state interests. He never explains why these regulations were put in place.

Berg and the power companies know that air pollution from these plants damage our health and contaminate our environment. Medical science has proven that air pollution causes deaths in people with heart and lung conditions. Our neighbors in Minneapolis have days when the air quality is so poor that authorities advise people at risk to remain indoors. Inaction by our legislators may soon bring this problem to Fargo.

Fish caught in local lakes are contaminated with mercury, a nervous-system poison, which originated from the burning of coal to generate electricity. Pregnant women and young children are advised to avoid or limit their consumption of fish to protect their heath.

The power companies’ response to these threats to our health and safety is to guard their profits. They have produced ads with the absurd claim of “clean” coal. They have apparently seduced legislators to put their interests ahead of the well-being of the citizens of this state.

Rep. Berg, we ask you to fulfill your duty to this state and not attempt to block the implementation of this regulation.