The EPA today issued new safeguards to reduce mercury and other toxic air pollutants from the smokestacks of the nation’s aging fleet of coal and oil-fired power plants. In addition to lowering mercury emissions, the new rule will reduce other fine particle heavy metals like arsenic, chromium, and lead, saving thousands of lives and billions of dollars each year. EPA has estimated that the power plant air toxics rule will avoid between 6,800 and 17,000 premature deaths each year, and will result in annual savings of $48 to $140 billion.
Here’s our Texas office director’s take on it:
“For decades, the electric power industry has delayed cleanup and lobbied against public health rules designed to reduce pollution,” said Tom “Smitty” Smith, director of Public Citizen’s Texas office. “They have decided that it was cheaper to invest in politicians than pollution controls and we see the result here in Texas. The technology and pollution control equipment necessary to reduce emissions of mercury and other dangerous air toxics are widely available and are working at some power plants across the country. There is no reason for Americans — and Texans in particular — to continue to live with risks to their health and to the environment.”