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Petitioning Environmental Protection Agency Public Comments

Tell the EPA: Put Children's Health Before Coal Industry Profits


Coal-fired power plants—the nation's worst air polluters—aren't required to limit their emissions of pollutants that can cause cancer, asthma and other serious health problems.

As a result, children suffer asthma attacks and thousands of our citizens die premature deaths every year. Power plants are also the biggest mercury polluters. If moms-to-be are exposed to this potent neurotoxicant, it puts their babies at risk of birth defects and learning disabilities.

But our health is unimportant to the coal-fired power industry and its allies in Washington, D.C., which is why they've fought tirelessly against reasonable limits on the toxic pollution they generate.

After years of work by Earthjustice and supporters like you, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is finally preparing to clean this dirty industry up. Please take a moment to tell the EPA that you support limits on power plants' toxic air pollution.

The health protections on the table will reduce emissions of cancer-causing metals such as arsenic, chromium and nickel. And each year, the protections will save the lives of as many as 17,000 people and prevent 11,000 heart attacks, 12,000 hospital and emergency rooms visits, and 120,000 asthma attacks.

We aren't willing to sacrifice our health so that the rich coal-fired power industry can rake in higher profits. The technology to reduce air pollution that harms our health and the health of our children is readily available and affordable.

Help protect everyone's right to breathe clean air. Tell the EPA to issue strong health protections against coal-fired power plants' toxic air emissions!

Letter to
Environmental Protection Agency Public Comments
Every year, power plants release more than 386,000 tons of toxic air pollutants into the air we breathe. These emissions -- which aren't subject to any federal limits to protect our health and safety -- impose a heavy burden on Americans in the form of cancer, heart and lung disease, and thousands of premature deaths every year. The technology to reduce these costly emissions is available and affordable, and I strongly support the EPA's Power Plant Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, which will make our air safer to breathe by requiring that power plants use these proven methods of pollution control to limit their harmful emissions.

In the coming months, I urge you to resist any efforts to weaken or delay your recent proposal to limit power plants' emissions of mercury, lead, arsenic, dioxin, acid gases and other toxic pollutants. The power plant industry has already used its financial and political influence to avoid these important health protections for more than two decades. We cannot wait any longer.

Power plants pump more mercury into our air than all other big industrial polluters combined. Mercury pollution damages aquatic ecosystems and contaminates fish species that many Americans rely on for recreation and nourishment. Pregnant women and young children are most at risk: mercury exposure can lead to birth defects and learning disabilities and can also irreparably impact a young child's ability to talk, think, read, write and learn. It is critically important that we protect these vulnerable members of our society from harm.

The Power Plant Mercury and Air Toxics Standards will prevent up to 17,000 premature deaths every year and spare many more Americans the physical and financial costs associated with illnesses brought on by breathing dirty air. These benefits to our society should be non-negotiable, considering especially that they outweigh the costs to polluters by as much as 13-to-1.

Thank you for taking this long-overdue step to protect our right to breathe clean air.

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