Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Clean Air Watch hails historic EPA plan to close lethal loophole for coal-fired power plants

(Washington, DC, March 16, 2011) – Here is the statement of Frank O’Donnell, president of the non-profit Clean Air Watch, in reaction to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal today to set mercury and other toxic pollution standards for coal-burning power plants:

This is historic -- it would end the lethal loophole that permits coal-burning power plants to spew poisonous pollution into the air.

Indeed, this is the single biggest step for public health protection that the EPA will take this year. Thousands of Americans will live longer and many millions will breathe easier as a result. Not only that, but fish will be safer to eat as toxic mercury is reduced from water bodies.

EPA would bring the dirtiest and most toxic coal power plants up to the standards of today’s cleanest plants. This would protect public health, clean up the environment – and create jobs.

Thanks to its lobbying prowess, the coal-burning power industry has escaped toxic pollution controls for more than two decades. Coal burning is the biggest source of mercury and other toxic emissions.

It is high time we closed this lethal loophole that permits coal-burning power plants to escape toxic pollution controls.

We have no doubt this is only round one of this battle, and that coal interests will continue to fight for loopholes and delays. We anticipate a smokestack smokescreen: scare tactics, including phony claims about possible blackouts.

EPA needs to stand its ground and make sure that these dirty power plants clean up ASAP.