Pennsylvania continues to live up to its name, Penn's Woods, with its beautiful woodlands and streams. Thousands of local residents and visitors enjoy hiking and fishing these streams every year. Some, however, may be unknowingly poisoning themselves with mercury by taking their catch home to their families.
Pennsylvania, ranking fourth in energy production from coal, is especially susceptible to the mercury contamination in our waterways, which makes its way into our bodies.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., deserves a pat on the back for helping stop a rollback of the Clean Air Act that would of continued to allow mercury pollution to poison our rivers and, in turn, Pennsylvanians. Mercury affects development of the brain, kidneys, and lungs and can be damaging to young and unborn children. This new protection, which Casey defended, significantly reduces mercury in our streams, the fish who swim in them, and the people who catch and eat that fish.
Casey helped defend a rule that will save 11,000 lives a year and make it a less worrisome next time someone eats fish from Pennsylvania waterways.
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Ann Willcox is an intern at PennEnvironment, is a statewide, citizen-funded environmental advocacy group with more than 100,000 members and activists, including many in this region.