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7/7/2011 US EPA: Here’s What They’re Saying About the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule

Here’s What They’re Saying About the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule: CONTACT Enesta Jones (News Media Only): jones.enesta@epa.gov, 202-564-7873, 202-564-4355: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 7, 2011: WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized Clean Air Act protections that will slash hundreds of thousands of tons of smokestack emissions that travel long distances through the air and threaten the health of hundreds of millions of Americans living downwind. The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule will protect communities that are home to 240 million Americans from smog and soot pollution, preventing up to 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks, 19,000 cases of acute bronchitis, 400,000 cases of aggravated asthma, and 1.8 million sick days a year beginning in 2014 – achieving up to $280 billion in annual health benefits.

U.S. Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware: “Today’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announcement of the cross-state air pollution rule ensures that all states are good neighbors when it comes to air pollution. My state of Delaware has made great strides in the effort to clean up its own air pollution and as we see with this new rule, those efforts have paid off and we now do not contribute to other state’s pollution problems…”

Albert Rizzo, American Lung Association: “Today’s finalization of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule is a vital component of the EPA’s effort to protect the health of millions of Americans who live downwind of power plants that belch out life-threatening pollution.”

Rick Sullivan, Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs: “Massachusetts congratulates EPA on its issuance of the Cross State Air Pollution Rule. This rule will reduce emissions of harmful air pollutants from large power plants in upwind states, which contribute to unhealthy air in Massachusetts. As a state that has already taken action to significantly reduce power plant pollution, Massachusetts is pleased that EPA is leveling the playing field by requiring power plants in upwind states to follow suit quickly – starting on January 1 2012. Massachusetts residents will breathe easier when that occurs.”

Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, The American Public Health Association: “Too many Americans suffer from life-threatening ozone and air pollution emitted by coal-burning power plants,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), executive director of APHA. “Today’s ruling is an important and long overdue step to protect the health of Americans and clean up our environment. It’s a huge win-win. We praise EPA for its continued efforts to help create stronger, healthier and more productive communities for ourselves and our families.”

Fred Krupp, Environmental Defense Fund: “These clean air standards for power plant pollution will provide some of the greatest human health protections in our nation’s history,” said EDF President Fred Krupp. “Millions of Americans live downwind from this deadly pollution — from the communities that live in the shadows of these smokestacks to those afflicted by the pollution that drifts hundreds of miles downwind. Today’s clean air protections will help eastern states restore healthy air in communities hard hit by air pollution, and will help all of us live longer and healthier lives.”

Gene Karpinski, League of Conservation Voters: “We applaud the EPA for providing a long overdue update to these necessary clean air standards. The benefits of these efforts to curb toxic air pollution have proven time and again to greatly outweigh the costs, and we commend the agency for taking this important step forward. By finalizing this rule, the EPA will help reduce the spread of harmful pollution across state borders, providing millions of Americans with cleaner air and water in their own cities and across the country.”

Mary Anne Hitt, The Sierra Club: “If you have a child with asthma or a loved one at risk of a heart attack, you can breathe easier today, because these new protections will decrease the chances they will end up in the emergency room.”

Adam Garber, Penn Environment: “Today’s announcement is a victory for Pennsylvania communities that have lived in the deadly shadow of power plant pollution for far too long,” said Adam Garber, Field Director with PennEnvironment. “This action will reduce the impact of toxic emissions from other states and give us a chance to breathe easier with cleaner air.”

More information: http://www.epa.gov/crossstaterule/

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6/15/2011 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: US EPA Administrator Testimony Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 6/15/2011 US EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Testimony Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works CONTACT: EPA Press Office press@epa.gov 202-564-6794 Madam Chairman, thank you for inviting me to testify about EPA’s ongoing efforts to protect our health by reducing the air pollution that affects millions of Americans. I know this subject very personally because my son is one of the more than 25 million Americans battling asthma. Let me begin my testimony with a matter of fact: pollution, such as mercury and particulate matter, shortens and reduces the quality of Americans’ lives and puts at risk the health and development of future generations. We know mercury is a toxin that causes neurological damage to adults, children and developing fetuses. We know mercury causes neurological damage, including lost IQ point in children. And we know particulate matter can lead to respiratory disease, decreased lung function and even pre-mature death. These pollutants – and others including arsenic, chromium and acid gases –come from power plants. These are simple facts that should not be up for debate.

However, Madam Chairman, while Americans across the country suffer from this pollution, special interests who are trying to gut long-standing public health protections are now going so far as to claim that these pollutants aren’t even harmful. These myths are being perpetrated by some of the same lobbyists who have in the past testified before Congress about the importance of reducing mercury and particulate matter. Now on behalf of their clients, they’re saying the exact opposite.

The good news is that to address this pollution problem, in 1970 Congress passed the Clean Air Act – which was signed into law by a Republican President, and then strengthened in 1990 under another Republican Administration.

Last year alone, the Clean Air Act is estimated to have saved 160,000 lives and prevented more than 100,000 hospital visits. Simply put, protecting public health and the environment should not be – and historically has not been – a partisan issue.

Despite all the distractions, let me assure you that EPA will continue to base all of our public health protections on two key principles: the law and the best science. Allow me to focus on two current activities.

On March 16, after 20 years in the making, EPA proposed the first ever national standards for mercury and other toxic air pollution from power plants. While many power plants already comply, the standards will level the playing field by requiring additional power plants to install widely-available, proven pollution control technologies.

Deployment of these technologies will prevent an estimated:

17,000 premature deaths
11,000 heart attacks
120,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms
11,000 cases of acute bronchitis among children
12,000 emergency room visits and hospital admissions
850,000 days of work missed due to illness

This proposed rule, which is going through a public comment process, is the product of significant outreach to industry and other stakeholders.

As we work at EPA to cut down on mercury and other toxins from power plants, we’re also trying to reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide through the “Clean Air Transport Rule” we proposed last year.

This rule requires 31 states and the District of Columbia to reduce their emissions of these two pollutants – which contribute to ozone and fine particle pollution across state lines – thereby significantly improving air quality in cities across the U.S. Utilities can achieve these reductions by investing in widely-available technology.

Once finalized, this rule will result in more than $120 billion in health benefits each year. EPA estimates this rule will protect public health by avoiding:

14,000 to 36,000 premature death

· 21,000 cases of acute bronchitis

· 23,000 nonfatal heart attacks

240,000 cases of aggravated asthma
440,000 cases of upper and lower respiratory symptoms
26,000 hospital and emergency room visits

· 1.9 million days of work or school missed due to illness

These numbers represent a major improvement in the quality of life for literally millions of people throughout the country – especially working families, children and older Americans.

While some argue that public health protections are too costly, history has repeatedly shown that we can clean up pollution, create jobs and grow our economy all at the same time.

Over the 40 years since the Clean Air Act was passed, the U.S. Gross Domestic Product grew more than 200 percent. In fact, some economic analysis suggests that the economy is billions of dollars larger today than it would have been without the Act.

Simply put, the Clean Air Act saves lives and strengthens the American workforce. As a result, the economic value of clean air far exceeds the costs. Expressed in dollar terms, the benefits of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 alone are projected to reach approximately $2 trillion in 2020, with an estimated cost of $65 billion in that same year – a benefit to cost ratio of more than 30 to 1.

With legislation pending in Congress to weaken and gut this proven public health protection law, I urge this committee to stand up for the hundreds of millions of Americans who are directly or indirectly affected by air pollution.

I look forward to your questions.

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5/31/2011 Please Tell US EPA to Protect Our Health from Toxic Pollutants

Join me in supporting this cause! Petition: Protect Our Health from Toxic Pollutants Click the play button to sign this petition. Dear Administrator Jackson, Every year, power plants release more than 386,000 tons of toxic air pollutants into the air we breathe. These emissions — which aren’t subject to any federal limits to protect our health and safety — impose a heavy burden on Americans in the form of cancer, heart and lung disease, and thousands of premature deaths every year. The technology to reduce these costly emissions is available and affordable, and I strongly support the EPA’s Power Plant Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, which will make our air safer to breathe by requiring that power plants use these proven methods of pollution control to limit their harmful emissions. [Your comments will be inserted here.] In the coming months, I urge you to resist any efforts to weaken or delay your recent proposal to limit power plants’ emissions of mercury, lead, arsenic, dioxin, acid gases and other toxic pollutants. The power plant industry has already used its financial and political influence to avoid these important health protections for more than two decades. We cannot wait any longer.

Power plants pump more mercury into our air than all other big industrial polluters combined. Mercury pollution damages aquatic ecosystems and contaminates fish species that many Americans rely on for recreation and nourishment. Pregnant women and young children are most at risk: mercury exposure can lead to birth defects and learning disabilities and can also irreparably impact a young child’s ability to talk, think, read, write and learn. It is critically important that we protect these vulnerable members of our society from harm.

The Power Plant Mercury and Air Toxics Standards will prevent up to 17,000 premature deaths every year and spare many more Americans the physical and financial costs associated with illnesses brought on by breathing dirty air. These benefits to our society should be non-negotiable, considering especially that they outweigh the costs to polluters by as much as 13-to-1.

Thank you for taking this long-overdue step to protect our right to breathe clean air.

Sincerely,
[Your name here]