Council: New Mercury and Air Toxics Rule Will Save Lives, Create Jobs

Council: New Mercury and Air Toxics Rule Will Save Lives, Create Jobs

The EPA’s Power Plant Mercury and Air Toxics Standards will prevent up to 17,000 premature deaths, 11,000 heart attacks, and over 12,000 hospital and emergency room visits
 
PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took a significant step towards protecting public health today by proposing the first national standard to reduce mercury and other toxic air pollution from power plants. The “Power Plant Mercury and Air Toxics Standards” will set new technology-based emissions limitation standards for toxic air pollutants such as mercury.
 
The proposed rule will prevent 91 percent of mercury emissions from power plants annually, reduce acid gas emissions from power plants by 91 percent, and reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from power plants by 55 percent. These reductions will lead to significant health benefits, including the prevention of up to 17,000 premature deaths, 11,000 heart attacks, and over 12,000 hospital and emergency room visits. According to Clean Air Council Executive Director Joseph O. Minott, “the EPA, through its proposed rulemaking, is taking a critical step towards protecting the health of millions of Americans.”
 
The proposed standards also include numerous economic benefits. The EPA estimates that the new standard will provide 31,000 short-term construction jobs and 9,000 permanent utility jobs. The new standard will also help avoid an estimated 850,000 missed work days. 
 
Factoring in both the public health and economic benefits, the EPA estimates that the proposed standards will provide $13 in benefits for every dollar allocated to power plant pollution reduction, reaching a potential level of over $140 billion annually. “It is clear that the benefits both from public health and economic perspectives far outweigh the costs of implementing these safeguards,” said Minott. “The Clean Air Council appreciates the efforts taken by the EPA in proposing standards to limit dangerous power plant pollution. We ask the EPA to continue fighting for the most effective standards which will protect the health of all Americans.”
 
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