CONTACT: Sarah McBride, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-918-7241
Washington, DC – Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is holding a public hearing to gather feedback on its proposal to reaffirm the determination that it is appropriate and necessary to regulate hazardous air pollutants, including mercury, from power plants. This proposal would restore the legal foundation of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS).
More than 40 members of Moms Clean Air Force, from more than 15 states, will testify today in support of restoring the appropriate and necessary finding of the MATS. These standards are a public health necessity, protecting communities across the country from mercury and other harmful air pollution from power plants. Mercury can harm the developing brains of babies and children and is also associated with cardiovascular problems. Pregnant women, babies, and children are especially vulnerable to the health impacts of mercury exposure.
The virtual hearing will take place from 10am to 7pm ET. Media may listen by registering as an observer. Send your name, phone number, and email to email@example.com to receive a Zoom link, or call 888-372-8699 to request access to the hearing.
In advance of today’s public hearing, Moms Clean Air Force staff issued the following statements:
“It is inconceivable to me that anyone would think it is morally defensible to release mercury into our air,” said Dominique Browning, Co-Founder and Senior Director. “We don’t need to choose between having abundant, reliable energy and clean, healthy air. We can have both. We think it is completely appropriate and indeed absolutely necessary to reinstate the legal justification, the appropriate and necessary finding, underpinning EPA’s ability to regulate mercury and other air toxics. We also urge EPA to swiftly move to strengthen the standards, to better protect moms, babies, children, and our communities from having to breathe, drink, and eat harmful mercury and air toxics.”
“Moms recognize and appreciate that the MATS have been successful at curtailing harmful pollution,” said Molly Rauch, Public Health Policy Director. “Since the MATS were implemented, mercury from power plants is down 86%. But more needs to be done. Some coal plants continue to spew large amounts of mercury into the air. Each year, more than 8,000 pounds of mercury comes out of power plants. The worst polluters are concentrated in North Dakota and Texas, with other large mercury sources coming from power plants in Appalachia and the Midwest. But this is a problem for all of our families, all across the country. There is no safe level of mercury exposure.”
Members of the press may reach out to Sarah McBride (see contact info above) to request copies of testimony from Moms Clean Air Force staff and volunteers from AZ, CO, DC, MA, MD, MI, MT, NC, NM, NY, OH, PA, VA, and WV, among other states.
The previous administration tried to weaken the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) by attacking the “appropriate and necessary finding”—the legal foundation of the MATS. EPA has taken a welcome first step toward reversing that action by proposing to restore the appropriate and necessary finding. EPA is also requesting comments on whether it should take further steps to strengthen these critical safeguards.
While the MATS have been successful, there are still many coal plants that release significant amounts of mercury pollution, placing the health of babies, pregnant women, and children at risk. This map highlights the top 30 mercury polluters and their locations around the country.
The purpose of today’s public hearing is to allow the public an opportunity to comment on EPA’s proposal to reinstate the appropriate and necessary finding of the MATS. Our more than 40 participants at the public hearing will share why it is critical that we strengthen the MATS so that mercury linked to brain damage in children, as well as other pollutants that increase the risk of cancer, lung disease, and other serious health harms, are no longer a threat to our families’ health and well-being.