National Clean Air for the Long Haul Coalition Applauds Biden Administration Defense of Tougher Rules on Toxic Mercury Pollution from Power Plants

EPA’s Reaffirmation of the Rule Is One of a Number of Agency Moves to Reverse Trump Rollbacks on the Clean Air Act and Dozens of Other Federal Environmental Laws and Safeguards


February 28, 2023
Contact: Christina Santi, 


WASHINGTON – The Clean Air for the Long Haul coalition, a newly formed cohort of leading environmental justice organizations, applauds the EPA’s legal defense of strong restrictions on mercury, and the agency’s continued commitment to affirming environmental justice and civil rights in regulatory policies – especially on air quality. This reversal of one of the Trump administration’s most egregious attacks on the Clean Air Act was long overdue. 

“There is no safe level of mercury in the human body, yet coal, gas and oil-fired power plants have long spewed this deadly toxin near Black, brown and historically marginalized communities—impacting brain development in babies and contributing to heart disease and kidney damage in adults,” said Anastasia Gordon, Energy and Transportation Policy Manager at WE ACT for Environmental Justice. “When we send our kids outside to play, we have to ensure they’re not inhaling deadly mercury and other toxic air pollutants. Our communities deserve to breathe freely.”

The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) has been hugely effective in reducing hazardous air pollutants from power plants, including mercury pollution by 86%, since the rule was issued in 2012. But it’s been over a decade since the standards have been updated, and the Clean Air for the Long Haul coalition calls on the EPA to quickly issue a proposal and finalize a strong rule, taking into account cumulative exposure and the disproportionate impact of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants on low-income, immigrant, Indigenous, and communities of color.

 “These dirty fossil fuel burning power plants aren’t just sending toxins into our bloodstream, they’re contributing to the climate crisis. Tougher rules will push us further and faster toward more investment in clean renewable energy and battery storage,” said Gordon. “This is a win-win, especially for environmental justice communities with the most to gain from healthier air, and good jobs in the clean energy economy.” 

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Clean Air For The Long Haul, a nationwide coalition of environmental justice groups, coordinates federal rulemaking campaigns, centering overburdened communities, to reduce air pollution from power plants, cars, and trucks. The coalition seeks to catalyze the environmental justice movement through federal emissions reductions targeting United States power and transportation sectors. Coalition member organizations include: Alternatives for Community and Environment, Clear Air NOW, Coalition of Community Organizations, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, Duwamish River Community Coalition, Greendoor Initiative, New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance, South Bronx Unite, Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, West End Revitalization Association, and Wisconsin Green Muslims. 

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