EPA reaffirms vital regulation of mercury from power plants February 17, 2023

PSR applauds the US Environmental Protection Agency’s reaffirmation that it is “appropriate and necessary” to regulate mercury and hazardous air pollutants from power plants. The announcement, which reinstates an earlier EPA position reversed by the Trump administration, followed legal action by PSR and three other health organizations.

“This is a very welcome announcement,” stated Barbara Gottlieb, Director of Environment and Health at PSR. “It allows EPA to fully carry out the mercury standard, which provides critical protection to children and babies especially.”

Mercury harms the developing brain in children, infants and fetuses, potentially causing loss of IQ as well as other nervous system impacts. Dietary exposure to mercury is also linked to an increased risk of acute myocardial infarction (heart attack), coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular heart disease. Subsistence fishers and others whose diet relies heavily on fish are particularly vulnerable.

After the Trump-era EPA reversed the “appropriate and necessary” finding of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard (MATS), PSR joined with the American Lung Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Public Health Association in filing a petition for judicial review.

Ironically, power plants were already in compliance with pollution controls under MATS when the Trump administration suspended the finding and did so at relatively low cost to their operations.

Read PSR’s press release here.

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