FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2023
Contact: Christina Santi, email@example.com
WASHINGTON – On April 5, 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the most significant update to the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) for coal-fired power plants since they were first issued in February of 2012. The new standards reflect the availability of recent developments and technologies that would enable power plants to cut down on mercury emissions and other hazardous air pollutants such as hydrogen chloride and lead. These lead to adverse health impacts such as asthma, lung, cardiovascular disease, brain development impairment, and cancer, among others. The Clean Air For The Long Haul Coalition, a nationwide cohort of leading environmental justice organizations, commends this proposal and is eager to participate in the comment period.
“Stronger mercury standards save lives, especially for Indigenous low-income communities and people of color across the country who are much more likely to live in the shadow of polluting fossil fuel-fired power plants,” said Anastasia Gordon of WE ACT for Environmental Justice.
“We are happy to see the administration moving aggressively to mandate the clean air we deserve,” said Gordon. “This is about justice, fairness, and about seeing our communities thriving, not just surviving.”
According to the EPA, the proposed emissions regulations would reduce 82 pounds of mercury, 800 tons of fine particulate matter, 8,800 tons of sulfur dioxide, 8,700 tons of nitrogen oxides, and 5 million tons of carbon dioxide by the year 2035. They also close a loophole that has precluded lignite-burning electricity plants from meeting the same standards as other coal-fired plants. Coal and other fossil-fired plants are disproportionately located in communities of color and, as such, bear the brunt of exposure and health risks to mercury, heavy metals, and other toxic air pollutants these plants spew. Studies have found that due to redlining, people of color are more likely to live upwind and within 5 km of a fossil fuel plant, presenting a higher exposure to emissions of NOx, SO2, and PM 2.5.
The Clean Air For The Long Haul coalition applauds the EPA’s proposed rule update to strengthen the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards as it is aligned with the Biden-Harris administration’s government commitment to environmental justice and Administrator Regan’s commitment to transparency for the power sector.
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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.