In a full vote Wednesday morning the Senate rejected a measure intended to roll back the Environmental Protection Agency's implementation of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), a rule that would limit mercury emissions from coal-burning power plants.
As Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said, “We don’t want to make the Great Smokies the Great Smogies.”
For the past four years, we have heard angry cries and even threats over the government bailouts for big banks, the auto industry and others during this economic downturn. Senators and representatives have lost their jobs over these bailouts. Yet Congress has been giving special breaks and what amounts to subsidies to the coal-fired utility industry for more than 20 years. It’s not taxpayer money but the health and life of our children that is being spent.
“Life, especially protecting our unborn children and infants, should not be a ‘matter of party or economic commodity.’ Protecting life and providing the opportunity for abundant life must be a matter of principal and morality.” – The Rev. Mitch Hescox, delivering a testimony on “A Christian Perspective on the Costs of Mercury to Human Health and Wellbeing” before the Energy and Power Subcommittee for the House of Representatives.
After years of opposition from coal industry lobbyists, the Environmental Protection Agency has issued the first national standards for mercury and air toxin pollution.
The standards will slash emissions of these dangerous pollutants by relying on widely available, proven pollution controls that are already in use at more than half of the nation’s coal-fired power plants.
The EPA estimates that the new safeguards will prevent as many as 11,000 premature deaths and 4,700 heart attacks each year. The standards also will help America’s children grow up healthier — preventing 130,000 cases of childhood asthma and about 6,300 fewer cases of acute bronchitis among children each year.