Lung Association Applauds Proposal to Strengthen Mercury and Air Toxics Standards; Urges EPA to Further Cut Toxic Emissions

In response to Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Coal- and Oil-Fired Electric Utility Steam Generating Units Review of the Residual Risk and Technology Review, Harold Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association, issued the following statement:

“Today’s proposal is an important step forward for public health and environmental justice. We applaud EPA’s work to build on the strong foundation of the current Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and we urge EPA to strengthen this proposal significantly to decrease emissions of mercury, toxic metals and other emissions that cause irreversible harm. 

“Work to clean up coal- and oil-fired power plant emissions under the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards has been a big success and received bipartisan support. These lifesaving standards have cut toxic air pollution from power plants dramatically and Americans – particularly babies – are much healthier as a result. However, power plants do still emit dangerous air toxics with serious health implications for people who live nearby, and EPA’s data shows that these emissions are on the rise. There is still more work to do to clean up dangerous pollution from power plants, and more pollution control measures that plants can install and run.

“EPA’s data from 2021 showed alarming increases in power plant emissions compared to the previous year, including a 20% increase in sulfur dioxide and a 13% increase in mercury emissions. People near these plants are disproportionately exposed and deserve protection. EPA’s statutory requirement is to protect individuals from the maximum exposure to hazardous air pollutants, and the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards must be strengthened so that they adequately protect health from power plant pollution. 

“The American Lung Association will work during the public comment process to strengthen the final rule to maximize health protections from power plant toxic pollution.”
For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
[email protected]

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