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Sierra Club Supports EPA Air Toxic Rule

Date : Tue, 24 May 2011 13:19:53 -0400

For Immediate Release
May 24, 2011 Contact Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

Sierra Club Supports EPA Air Toxic Rule Hearing on Air Quality Standards for Coal-Fired Plants

Philadelphia: Today, the Environmental Protection Agency will be hearing public comments on their proposed rule on air quality standards regarding mercury and air toxics emitted from power plants. Air toxics such as mercury, arsenic, and dioxin are the most hazardous air pollutants. Coal-fired power plants are one of the largest sources of pollution in the country emitting thousands of pounds of toxic mercury and air toxic pollution into the air every year.

"This is an important rule to help protect the lives of the people of New Jersey and the United States. The most important thing we can do is to start to rid our environment of toxins like mercury and dioxin," Jeff Tittel, Director of New Jersey Sierra Club.

New Jersey still has 5 coal-fired plants, which include BL England and Logan Township Coal Generation Plant. At our new plants mercury has been reduced, however these plants need to be closed or converted to natural gas to better protect our environment and health from the air toxics and mercury they emit. Even though New Jersey has reduced its mercury emissions since we are located at the end of the air stream, we receive a lot of pollution from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and other Midwestern states. More mercury comes into New Jersey from being transported through the air from other states than is actually emitted in New Jersey.

"We need to have strong enforceable national rules regulating air toxins since most of the air toxins that affect New Jersey come from air pollution from out of state," Tittel said.

Toxic mercury gets released into the air and then it rains down into our lakes, streams and other waters. Mercury then accumulates in fish and trout in our waterways and reservoirs putting our public health at risk. Fish advisories have been placed on New Jersey waterways like pristine reservoirs in the middle of the Pinelands because of the mercury that comes down from the sky. Unfortunately our waterways are so polluted that nearly all fish contain traces of mercury. If ingested mercury can become a dangerous neurotoxin, damage the brain, and nervous system.

  Dioxin is one of most hazardous manmade chemicals. Not only is dioxin a carcinogen, but it affects the central nervous system and can bio accumulate with in humans and in animals, which in turn will contaminate us. Limiting dioxin is critical for public health and safety. Dioxin has impacted birds and fish in the Delaware River.

Mercury is particularly harmful to pregnant women and children causing severe birth defects, such as developmental disorders and learning disabilities. These air toxics even in small amounts can be extremely harmful being linked to cancer, heart disease, birth defects, asthma attacks, and premature death. According to the EPA each year the new protection will save as many as 17,000 lives and prevent 120,000 cases of childhood asthma.

Communities and the environment are paying the cost of mercury and toxic air pollution from these dirty coal-fired plants. Through the EPA draft rule plants would be required to reduce their hazardous air pollution to match the best performing and cleanest plants for each pollutant through the instillation of pollution equipment. The EPA proposed Mercury and Air Toxic rule will help protect the public health, improve our air quality, and create new jobs through the installation of new pollution control equipment.

"The Air Toxic rule along with Coal Ash and CARE rules is an important group of rules that will protect the health and safety of the people of the United States. We would like to thank EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson for standing up against toxic polluters and protecting our public health," said Jeff Tittel.

Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator NJ Sierra Club 145 W. Hanover Street Trenton, NJ 08618 609.656.7612 (f) 609.656.7618 Received on 2011-05-24 10:19:53

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
tel: 609 656 7612, fax 609 656 7618
or email Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator, at nicole.dallara@sierraclub.org

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