West Virginia Moms are outraged at EPA’s attack on the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards in the midst of a global respiratory pandemic: Sabotaging these standards is an unforgivable assault on our health
April 16, 2020
Contact: Leah Barbor, firstname.lastname@example.org, (304) 212-8852
Buckhannon, WV – Today, in the midst of a global respiratory pandemic, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler is expected to finalize his attack on the life-saving Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS). In response, Leah Barbor, Field Organizer for Moms Clean Air Force’s West Virginia Chapter and Buckhannon resident, issued this rebuke:
“Even as Americans across the country are dying from coronavirus—a lethal respiratory pandemic—Andrew Wheeler continues to protect industrial polluters by making it easier for them to spew dangerous pollution into the air.
“The Trump Administration’s assault on life-saving standards that protect our babies and children from harmful mercury pollution is unacceptable. To make matters worse, this new rule is just one of dozens of dangerous rollbacks from Trump’s EPA that jeopardize our health and environment.
“As a mother of two and a resident of Buckhannon, I want to protect my children from dangerous pollution. The operating coal plants in the Ohio and Tennessee River Valleys directly impact the air my kids breathe, the water they drink, and the fish in our waterways. The Trump Administration’s attack on the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards is therefore a direct threat to the health of my children, and all of West Virginia’s kids. Coming at a time when air pollution has been linked to worse outcomes from coronavirus, today’s attack is especially galling to parents trying to protect our babies from harm.
“Mercury pollution from power plants falls with rain and snow and pollutes surface water where our families fish and swim. Elemental mercury is then metabolized into methylmercury, a toxic substance that is known to interfere with brain development cause other major health adversities. Exposure to mercury pollution has lasting detrimental effects on our most vulnerable populations: developing fetuses and children in crucial stages of growth and development.
“West Virginians pride ourselves on our scenic natural resources and the self-sufficiency we are able to draw from our environment. Today’s attack on the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards undermines these cherished values. The people of West Virginia and our children should not be placed at risk from harmful pollution.
“The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards are already fully implemented, and they are currently protecting families across the country from toxic air pollution. Since the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards were finalized in 2012, mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants in West Virginia has decreased by 75%, with an estimated $790 million in health benefits to West Virginians each year. Across the country, the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards save 11,000 Americans from premature death annually and prevent approximately 130,000 asthma attacks.
“This attack on the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards is an affront to moms and babies across the state and a transparent giveaway to industry interests. West Virginia families will continue to fight these attacks on behalf of the most vulnerable among us: our children.”
About Moms Clean Air Force: Moms Clean Air Force is a community of over one million moms—and dads—working together to fight air pollution, including the urgent crisis of our changing climate. For more information, go to http://www.momscleanairforce.org/or follow us on Twitter @CleanAirMoms, Instagram @cleanairmoms, or Facebook.