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Citizens, EPA Discuss Climate Change in St. Louis

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EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks speaks while Rev. Earl Nance, Jr. looks on, at a Clean Air Health Fair in St. Louis on April 27, 2013 (KMOX/Brad Choat)

EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks speaks while Rev. Earl Nance, Jr. looks on, at a Clean Air Health Fair in St. Louis on April 27, 2013 (KMOX/Brad Choat)

CBS St. Louis (con't)

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Climate change is real, and conditions are getting worse, not better.

That’s the message from a “Clean Air Health Fair” held in north St. Louis on Saturday.

Karl Brooks is the regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency’s four-state Heartland region, which includes Missouri. He said air pollution in St. Louis has the attention of the EPA, “We are working with a school district near the airport, the Normandy District, on a plan where they’d have schools put up warning flags on their flagpoles when air quality is bad.”

Brooks said climate change is producing more extreme weather, and that contributes to breathing and heart disease. In the past 60 years, St. Louis has seen the number of extreme heat waves double.

Brooks said people who live and work in a place like north St. Louis are 4 to 5 times more likely to suffer from asthma than people who live in other areas.

Romona Taylor Williams is the director of the Metro Saint Louis Coalition for Inclusion and Equality. She said a local pediatrician who serves low-income and minority families doesn’t dispute the EPA’s claim, “Ninety-percent of her emergency room admissions are asthma-related or respiratory-related. That’s just unacceptable.”

Jan Meibaum from Kirkwood also attended the fair and said she’d like to see more federal lawmakers take the matter seriously, “It’s not time to wait. It’s time to act now. The President’s agenda is to make sure we move forward with climate change legislation.”

Romona Taylor Williams said help needs to come not only from the federal level, but the local, as well, “The city of St. Louis discontinued funding the clean air quality department at its department of health. That’s not a good thing. That needs to be reinstated, and it needs to be reinstated now.”

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