EPA Moves To Protect Americans from Hazardous Emissions: Power Plant Emission Regulations a Decade Overdue (3/16/11)
March 16, 2011
EPA Moves To Protect
Americans from Hazardous
Power Plant Emission Regulations a Decade Overdue
Gaithersburg, MD – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed requirements to control toxic air emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants – the largest unregulated industrial sources of hazardous air pollution in the United States. The Izaak Walton League of America applauds this critical step to protect the health of American citizens and safeguard our natural resources and fish and wildlife.
Existing power plants release 48 tons of mercury into the air each year. Children and women of childbearing age are particularly at risk when power plants emit such levels of mercury. Mercury exposure also causes significant damage to waterfowl and mammals that eat contaminated fish, including reproductive problems and neurological damage.
Coal- and oil-fired power plants also emit enormous quantities of lead, arsenic, and other hazardous chemicals that can lead to adverse health effects in humans and fish and wildlife. In fact, many states have issued advisories warning women and children – and in some cases, all citizens – to avoid or limit their intake of freshwater fish because of the contamination problem.
“We applaud EPA for taking this step to protect public health and the environment,” says Nancy Lange, Acting Director of the Izaak Walton League’s Energy Program. “This regulation is long over due, and we urge EPA to maintain robust requirements in the final rules.”
Under the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency was required to set limits for hazardous air pollutants from power plants by 2002, but this deadline passed with no action from EPA. The League and partner groups filed a lawsuit in 2004 seeking an enforceable deadline for EPA to issue regulations with these limits. After several starts and stops, EPA agreed in 2009 to enter into a legal settlement that requires the agency to propose and adopt rules for hazardous air pollutants emitted from coal- and oil-fired power plants by November 2011. These regulations will not only limit mercury and toxic emissions from power plants but will also drive down emissions of dangerous soot pollution that contributes to asthma, heart disease, and strokes.
The public will have an opportunity to comment on this rule before it is final.
Founded in 1922, the Izaak Walton League of America (http://www.iwla.org/) protects America's outdoors through education, community-based conservation and promoting outdoor recreation.