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Nathan Willcox,
Environment America

Polluters Get Their Wish as EPA Delays Deadline for Public Comments on Mercury Rule

For Immediate Release

Washington, DC — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it will delay the comment period deadline for its proposed Mercury and Air Toxics Standard for Power Plants by 30 days.

Nathan Willcox, Federal Global Warming Program Director for Environment America, issued the following statement:

“The American people have waited for more than two decades for EPA to update clean air standards to require polluters to clean up mercury, arsenic, and other toxic air pollution from power plants. Now it’s time for the coal industry to stop poisoning our kids and clean up the hundreds of thousands of pounds of toxic pollution coal-fired power plants spew into our air every year.

Coal-fired power plants are the single largest source of mercury air pollution in the United States. This mercury ends up in our bodies and puts our children at risk of learning disabilities, developmental disorders, and even lower IQs. Now one in 10 American women of childbearing age has enough mercury in her body to put any child she has at risk of these health threats.

More than 400,000 Americans have said that they want EPA to move forward with the strongest possible standard to cut mercury and other toxic air pollution from power plants, and just this morning 104 members of Congress sent a letter to EPA in support of this standard.

Now that EPA has finally proposed a strong rule—which it estimates would cut mercury and other toxic air pollution by 91 percent, save up to 17,000 lives a year, and prevent 120,000 asthma attacks annually—big polluters like American Electric Power continue to fight tooth and nail to punt new limits on toxic air pollution further down the line.

After decades of delay, we’re disappointed that coal companies got their wish by delaying the close of the comment period.  EPA must staunch the flood of toxic air pollution and meet its November 16, 2011 deadline for issuing a strong final standard, or every day of delay will mean more deaths and more children at risk.”