The specific proposals are to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 80% by 2018, mono-nitrogen oxides by 53% and mercury by 90% by 2015. I don't know a thing about the technology involved, but if these adjustments ARE technologically feasible we absolutely should require that our plants do them. Even knowing that we have to pay for it. Sulfur dioxide is the main thing that causes acid rain, and acid rain kills the trees and depletes the soil and turns the land into waste. It is the nightmare that people have when they think about nuclear devastation, only it happens. Nitrogen oxide contributes to acid rain. Mercury is just plain old toxic, neurotoxic and hard to get rid of. If we can stop plants from blowing mercury into the air, it won't get rained into the water, and it won't concentrate in the fish or come pouring through our taps. We won't be so poisoned.
Oh, you say, you're not poisoned? Don't check your own heavy metals if you don't want to know.
On the subject of fossil fuel dependence, here's a short history from the Post Carbon Institute.
Letter urging me to contact congress and demand a strong clean air act:
It only takes a little mercury to cause a lot of death, cancer and brain damage.
But every year, coal-fired power plants alone pump 50 tons of this potent neurotoxin into our air. Mercury exposure is so widespread in this country that as many as 1 in 6 women of childbearing age has mercury levels in her blood high enough to put a baby at risk of mercury poisoning,1
But mercury has been totally unregulated by the Clean Air Act, until now. The EPA just announced a significant rule to reduce emissions of mercury, arsenic, led, dioxins, acid gas, and six dozen other toxic chemicals that power plants are now able to freely dump into our air.
It's the most important clean air rule since the Clean Air Act was updated in 1990 — and the EPA is predictably under tremendous pressure by the coal industry and other polluters to weaken it.
Tell the EPA you support this landmark rule to significantly reduce mercury, arsenic, lead and other toxic air pollution. Submit a public comment now.
For decades, the electric industry has successfully fought requirements to reduce these toxics.
They've kept releasing mercury into the air, where it finds its way into the vast majority of our lakes and waterways, into our fish, and then into our bodies, where the poison accumulates, causing deadly disease and impairing fundamental brain functions like the ability to walk, talk, read, write and learn.
Now we have a chance to change that. According to the EPA, reduced emissions from this new air toxics rule will save as many as 17,000 American lives every year by 2015, and will prevent up to 120,000 cases of childhood asthma.
Submit a public comment to defend this live-saving clean air rule.
These health benefits will also provide tremendous monetary benefits of between $60 billion to $140 billion annually, at a substantially lower cost of less than $11 billion for the polluters.2
With no sense of irony, polluters claim this is too expensive a cost for them to bear — as they reap billions of dollars in profit and heap substantially higher health costs onto the public. But the cost of the new regulations is a bargain, and the requirements are very reasonable: power plants have four years to install or upgrade to technology that already exists and is in use at many power plants nationwide.
As we have seen with the repeated attacks on the Clean Air Act's ability to regulate climate pollution, industry efforts to weaken this air toxics rule will be fierce, and these powerful utilities have many friends in the congress who are more than happy to do this dirty work.
We need to display a massive show of support to encourage the EPA to keep this landmark rule as strong as possible. CREDO is standing with numerous other environmental organizations to deliver many hundreds of thousands of comments to the EPA. Please add your voice now.
Tell the EPA: Don't bow to industry pressure. Keep the air toxics rule strong. Submit your public comment now.
Thank you for fighting for clean air.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
1. "Protect our kids from toxic mercury," CNN, March 17th, 2011
2. "EPA's Mercury and Air Toxics Rule: Bottom Lines and Background," NRDC, March 16th, 2011