To the Editor:
In the quiet between Christmas and New Year’s, with the federal government in partial shutdown, the Trump Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans to roll back the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) that limit the amount of mercury and other toxic emissions from power plants.
A rollback will allow power plants to spew mercury and other hazardous pollutants into the air, threatening the health of the American public.
The EPA now proposes that it is not “appropriate and necessary” to regulate hazardous air pollutants (HAP) emissions from these power plants because the costs of such regulation grossly outweigh the quantified regulation benefits.
As background, mercury causes brain damage, learning disabilities and other birth defects in children. Loosened standards are likely to have a disproportionately negative impact on pregnant women and children — especially those living in communities located near coal- and oil-fired power plants. In 2012, the agency estimated the health benefits of pollution reduction associated with MATS would range from $37 billion to $90 billion, while compliance costs to industry estimated at $7.4 billion to $9.6 billion annually. As a result of MATS, mercury pollution has decreased nearly 70 percent, and the EPA found that the safeguards helped prevent more than 11,000 premature deaths each year since 2015.
Let the EPA know that this rollback is not OK! We need to move forward, not backward.
— Eileen O’Rourke, Flourtown