This piece was cross-posted at Non-Toxic Kids.
This week we learned of American Electric Power’s (AEP) new bill drafted to weaken and delay federal clean air standards. Their lobbyists wrote the bill, innocuously called the Electric Power Regulatory Coordination Act of 2011, and now they are trying to find any lawmaker willing to put their name on it.
Who is AEP?
Only one of the largest emitters of toxic air pollution in the country. In 2008, AEP emitted more mercury, nitrogen oxide, and carbon dioxide than any other American utility.
They have everything to gain from weaker standards. More. Money. Loads of it. Between 2005 and 2010, AEP spent $35,695,379 on lobbying. (The new clean air technologies should be about saving lives and protecting our health. $35 million is a LOT of money to spend lobbying AGAINST better health.)
So what’s the problem? If you’ve been reading this blog in the past month or so, you know I’m a member of the Moms Clean Air Force. We’re rallying in support of cleaner air standards to protect American families. AEP wants to stop this, and dilute regulations. In doing so, the health results would be devastating for America’s families.
Consider this. In the first two years alone, if this bill were to become law, it would permit the release of mercury, acid gases, and arsenic that would contribute to as many as 34,000 deaths, 220,000 asthma attacks, and 1.5 million missed work days. These could be completely avoided by the implementation of the EPA’s new clean air standards for the most toxic pollutants.
So, we are asking AEP the question. What’s your number? How many preventable deaths a year are you okay with? This is about the health of our families, our children. There is no way to sugar coat this. AEP’s bill will result in more preventable deaths, particularly in vulnerable populations such as the very young and elderly.
Tell AEP to stop the effort to delay and rollback limits on toxic air pollution. Join the EDF Facebook event in support of this and for action alerts and tweets, click here.