The Bus Stops In D.C.

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Though most people know him as a star running back at Notre Dame and a former all-Pro with the Pittsburgh Steelers, last week, Jerome Bettis was making an impression on Capitol Hill.

"The Bus" was in Washington, D.C. to speak to lawmakers and officials about setting mercury emission limits in power plants that burn coal and oil. Bettis urged legislators to support the Environmental Protection Agency's Air Toxics Rule to mandate nationwide reductions of dangerous emissions of mercury, lead, arsenic, and acid gases.

"My goal is for the members of Congress we meet with to understand just how important these rules are to people's health, and that they need to be implemented as soon as possible," he said.

According to the American Lung Association, more than 175 million people live in the presence of unhealthy levels of air pollution.

For the former Irish running back, it is also a personal matter. He was diagnosed with asthma at age 15. Bettis was joined in Washington by Clean Air Council analyst Katie Feeney, who explained the dangers that unsafe levels of mercury can have for women during pregnancy.

Despite spending some time lobbying in our nation's capital, Bettis has no plans to pursue a career in politics.

"For me, the problem is, with football, it's easy: You win or you lose. You give 110 percent every time, and that's it. But in politics, sometimes there's not a clear winner and not a clear loser," he said. "There's a lot of gray. So I've lived in a world of black and white, and politics, unfortunately, there's a give and a take... It's just an interesting dynamic that I'm not used to."

Today, Bettis splits time between Atlanta and Pittsburgh, and is a businessman and commentator with NBC Sports. He has also established the Bus Stops Here Foundation, an organization that helps troubled and underprivileged children.

- Josh Flynt ('11)

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