BY ON May 25, 2011

This piece was cross-posted on Non-Toxic Kids.

This week is critical in the fight for clean air. The Environmental PUnited States Environmental Protection Agency logorotection Agency will hold public hearings in Chicago, Philadelphia and Atlanta this week on the agency’s proposed Mercury and Air Toxics rule.

As I have been sharing through my participation in the Moms Clean Air Force, this long overdue health and environmental protection will reduce air toxics from power plants, including mercury – a potent neurotoxin – arsenic, dioxin and acid gases.

The statistics speak for themselves. More than 400,000 newborns are affected by mercury pollution each year. Coal-fired power plants emit 72% of all toxic mercury air pollution in the United States and 386,000 tons of other hazardous air pollution, endangering families across the country.

EPA’s new Mercury and Air Toxics (MACT) Rule will prevent up to 17,000 premature deaths per year when it is in effect.

Support for the new MACT rule is more important than ever. While a number of utilities, like Exelon and Constellation have invested in technology and jobs to clean up toxic air pollutants like the ones this rule addresses, other utilities like American Electric Power (AEP) are lobbying Congress to delay these long overdue clean air standards. We can’t let that happen.

That is why EDF along with Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club have started the “What’s Your Number Campaign.” The campaign challenges AEP to publicly state the number of lives it wants Congress to sacrifice to give AEP and other polluters delays and rollbacks of national limits on toxic air pollution.

“17,000 lives a year cannot afford to wait for utilities like AEP to finally clean up,” said Mark MacLeod of Environmental Defense Fund. “These new protections mean lives saved, cleaner air and a stronger economy.”

Please support the Mercury and Air Toxics Rule, and urge your friends you join you via Facebook, Twitter, and good ole’ mouth to mouth communication. 17,000 lives are on the line, and we need to speak up for them.

You can download the EDF’s testimony from the hearings below:

· Chicago Public Testimony
· Philadelphia Public Testimony

TOPICS: Coal, Mercury Poisoning, Politics, Pollution