New EPA Rule Curbs Mercury, Other Pollutants from Power Plants

NRDC: ‘Latest Obama Initiative Will Improve Our Health and Our Air’

WASHINGTON (December 21, 2011) – The new safeguards against mercury, lead and other toxic air emissions from power plants will significantly improve our health and the air we breathe, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The following is a statement by NRDC President Frances Beinecke on the final mercury and air toxics rule issued today by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“We can breathe easier today. After decades of industry-induced delay, the Environmental Protection Agency did exactly what it was designed to do: look out for our health and our environment.  Dirty coal-fired power plants will have to clean up the toxic soup of emissions that is polluting our air and making people sick, especially children. This critical update to the Clean Air Act will reduce child developmental delays, asthma attacks, heart attacks, and cancer; and save tens of thousands of lives.

 “This new rule continues the president’s initiatives to protect our environment and our health.  In addition to reducing mercury and other toxic air pollution, he proposed strong carbon dioxide pollution and fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks, and moved us closer toward curbing carbon dioxide pollution from power plants.”

EPA estimates that today’s rule will prevent hundreds of thousands of asthma attacks and tens of thousands of cases of acute bronchitis in children nationwide, among other health benefits.

To read more about the new mercury rule, see NRDC President Frances Beinecke’s blog post:

And NRDC Executive Director Peter Lehner's blog:

NRDC released analysis of "The Toxic 20" this summer that shows nationwide that half of all industrial toxic air pollution dumped into our air comes from coal-fired power plants. Power plants are the single biggest source of industrial toxic air pollution in 29 states and big contributors in most of the rest.

For more information on the mercury rule, go to: