Protect Our Health from Toxic Pollutants

  • by: Earthjustice
  • target: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson
Coal-fired power plants aren't required to limit their emissions of pollutants that cause breathing problems, cancer and even premature death. Additionally, as the worst industrial emitters of mercury, coal-fired power plants endanger the health of our children. If moms-to-be are exposed to this neurotoxin, it puts their babies at risk of birth defects and learning disabilities.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is preparing to set limits on power plants' air pollution that will reduce emissions of mercury and cancer-causing metals, and fine particle pollution. These protections will save as many as 17,000 lives and prevent hundreds of thousands of other health problems each year. The technology to achieve this goal is available and affordable.

But our health isn't important to the coal-fired power industry, which is why they have been fighting for decades to avoid cleaning up. Tell the EPA you support strong protections against coal-fired power plants' toxic air emissions.
Dear Administrator Jackson,

Every year, power plants release more than 386,000 tons of toxic air pollutants into the air we breathe. These emissions -- which aren't subject to any federal limits to protect our health and safety -- impose a heavy burden on Americans in the form of cancer, heart and lung disease, and thousands of premature deaths every year. The technology to reduce these costly emissions is available and affordable, and I strongly support the EPA's Power Plant Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, which will make our air safer to breathe by requiring that power plants use these proven methods of pollution control to limit their harmful emissions.

[Your comments will be inserted here.]

In the coming months, I urge you to resist any efforts to weaken or delay your recent proposal to limit power plants' emissions of mercury, lead, arsenic, dioxin, acid gases and other toxic pollutants. The power plant industry has already used its financial and political influence to avoid these important health protections for more than two decades. We cannot wait any longer.

Power plants pump more mercury into our air than all other big industrial polluters combined. Mercury pollution damages aquatic ecosystems and contaminates fish species that many Americans rely on for recreation and nourishment. Pregnant women and young children are most at risk: mercury exposure can lead to birth defects and learning disabilities and can also irreparably impact a young child's ability to talk, think, read, write and learn. It is critically important that we protect these vulnerable members of our society from harm.

The Power Plant Mercury and Air Toxics Standards will prevent up to 17,000 premature deaths every year and spare many more Americans the physical and financial costs associated with illnesses brought on by breathing dirty air. These benefits to our society should be non-negotiable, considering especially that they outweigh the costs to polluters by as much as 13-to-1.

Thank you for taking this long-overdue step to protect our right to breathe clean air.
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