Lung Association Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Mercury and Air Toxics Standards
Statement from American Lung Association Senior Scientific Advisor Norman H. Edelman, MD, in response to today’s release of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision on the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard for Power Plants
(June 29, 2015) - WASHINGTON, D.C.
In response to the decision announced today by the U.S. Supreme Court to remand the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for Power Plants – a major clean air safeguard that had already begun reducing the emissions of hazardous air pollutants including mercury, lead, arsenic and acid gases – the American Lung Association (an intervener in the case) released the following statement:
“We regret the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to remand these landmark clean air standards that had already begun to reduce toxic emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants in more than 40 states. As a result of this decision, millions of Americans, including children, risk continued exposure to toxic air pollutants that can cause cancer, harm the lungs and even kill. Unfortunately, they will continue to bear the real costs here—the life-long burden of these poisons in the air they breathe.
“We urge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to begin immediately to address the issues raised by the Court to ensure that these protections are fully implemented with no further gap in protections that have been overdue by more than 20 years already.
“Prior to the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, the air pollution from coal-fired power plants contained 84 of the 187 hazardous pollutants identified for control by the Clean Air Act. When fully implemented, the standards would have reduced these pollutants and prevent 130,000 childhood asthma attacks and 11,000 premature deaths each year.
“We will work to ensure the final, full implementation of these lifesaving standards to protect the public from these dangerous toxics.”