The Grand Tetons in Wyoming.
This Mother’s Day, like every Mother's Day, Connie Wilbert is looking forward to spending time with her two kids on a hike in the beautiful hills near her home in Sheridan, Wyoming.
Connie and her family enjoy spending time outdoors and are avid hunters and anglers. Her 17-year-old son loves fly-fishing, and her 14-year-old daughter is very skilled when it comes to archery. Connie says the love of nature has rubbed off on her children because of her own upbringing."My family camped a lot as I was growing up, and I learned to fish at about six-years-old and started shooting when I was about ten," says Connie, a regional organizer for the Wyoming Sierra Club. "Today, my own family hunts, fishes, and camps together, and our hunting provides all the meat we eat."
She loves all the outdoor time with her family, but she worries about the future of the beautiful wild lands near her home and the effects that nearby coal plants and coal mining have on her family's health.
"Energy development poses a huge threat to our remaining wild lands and all our natural resources here in Wyoming. We have a number of old, dirty coal-fired power plants in Wyoming, and I do worry about mercury and other pollutants drifting on the Wyoming wind across the landscape. We mine and ship an enormous amount of coal in this state, and we have serious air-quality problems from coal mining, coal transportation, and coal burning."
As Connie and I know, this problem doesn't just face Wyoming families. Coal’s pollution affects millions of Americans every day. Coal's mercury pollution is especially dangerous. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that damages the brain and the nervous system. Exposure to mercury is especially dangerous for pregnant women and young children, as it can cause developmental problems, learning disabilities, and delayed onset of walking and talking.
"All our children, everywhere, should be safe from this threat. They all deserve a clean, healthy environment," says Connie.
Coal-fired power plants are the largest domestic source of federally unregulated mercury pollution in the United States -- emitting approximately 33 tons of toxic mercury each year.
We can do better than coal, for Connie's family and for all our families this Mother's Day. We want our children to grow up in a healthy and clean environment -- one that will remain rich in natural resources, wild lands, and abundant wildlife.
As we honor the women in our lives this Mother's Day, urge your senators to stand up for the health of moms and babies and oppose efforts to repeal the EPA's new clean air protections today!