EPA’s mercury rule endangers public health

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Bart Johnsen-Harris

Environment America

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to weaken the agency’s safeguards for toxic mercury pollution. Bart Johnsen-Harris, clean water advocate for Environment America, issued the following statement:

“EPA’s move to weaken toxic mercury protections is misguided and reckless. Even the power industry, which has already invested more than $18 billion dollars in cleaning up these dangerous and deadly pollutants, opposes this new plan. While protecting human health should be enough reason to oppose it, this new rule is even more absurd because polluters didn’t want or need it.

“People have known for decades that mercury is toxic and a top public health concern. Mercury poisoning is linked to a host of health issues including neurological disorders and brain damage, and exposure can even be fatal. EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) protect the public by limiting emissions of mercury, arsenic, and other toxicants.

“The EPA’s proposed changes to the MATS rule would undermine the Agency’s existing safeguards. The move would ignore scientific consensus and strike the underlying research from the record, weakening the MATS rule and hampering future efforts to curb toxic emissions.”