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'Smoggy skies act' heads to Senate

Summer ozone season is in full swing, yet the U.S. House of Representatives just passed a harmful bill that would delay life-saving ozone standards. Sadly, Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., voted for it. Now it's critical that the Senate oppose it.

H.R. 806 deserves the name the "Smoggy Skies Act." It would delay ozone protections for years and permanently weaken one of the nation's strongest public health laws. Wisconsin's lakeshore communities bear the brunt of some of the worst ozone pollution in the nation not of their making. Yet it is the Clean Air Act — the very law Congress wants to weaken — that has been responsible for the sweeping reductions in air pollution to date. Gutting the ozone standard will only reverse the positive progress made over the past few decades.

Ground-level ozone is dangerous — and widespread. Millions of Americans are especially vulnerable, such as Wisconsin's 69,000-plus children and 308,000 adults with asthma. This bill would make it harder to protect people from asthma attacks, emergency room visits and premature deaths from ozone pollution.

Finally, the American public does not support the delay. A poll this year found that by a 2 to 1 margin, Americans across the country oppose Congress rolling back the current smog standards. Sixty-one percent of voters in the Midwest favor maintaining the standard.

I call on Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., to protect our health and oppose the Smoggy Skies Act.

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