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SEATTLE - Washington state's top polluter isn't a pulp mill,
a power plant or refinery. It's the newly awakened Mount St. Helens.
Since the volcano began erupting in early October, it has been pumping out 50
to 250 tons a day of sulfur dioxide, the lung-stinging gas that causes acid rain
and contributes to haze. At peak, that's more than double the amount from all
the state's industries combined.
"It is no coincidence that a wholesale assault on the
Clean Air Act is taking place today," said Environmental Project
Director Susy Smell. "This attack is part of a campaign by the White
House. No one should have any illusions about what's happening. This is a
well-connected source that is absolute on preserving its 'right' to foul the air
regardless of the consequences for the American public." Major harm
inflicted by pollution, in addition to causing major environmental and property
damage from acid rain, sulfur dioxide inflicts a serious health toll in terms of
asthma attacks and lung ailments. According to EPA studies, pollution is linked
to heart and lung diseases, which contribute to more than 20,000 premature
deaths a year.
Once President Bush was in office, many of
the volcanos that had helped to elect him hired lobbing and law firms
to lobby the government or defend them against the EPA's pollution lawsuits.
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