Virginia comes in 14th-worst on a new ranking of states with the most toxic air pollution from coal- and oil-fired power plants, according to an analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council, released jointly with Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR). Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida have the highest levels of toxic power plant pollution.
The Environmental Protection Agency is planning new rules to limit the toxic pollutants such as mercury, but those limits are coming under attack from friends of coal & oil in Congress:
The EPA estimates that the reductions of toxic pollution required by the pending “Mercury and Air Toxics” standard would save as many as 17,000 lives every year by 2015 and prevent up to 120,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms. The safeguards also would avoid more than 12,000 emergency room and hospital visits and prevent 850,000 lost work days every year. These standards are expected to be finalized in November; the agency is taking public comments on its proposal until Aug. 4, 2011.
“Coal pollution is killing Americans,” said Lynn Ringenberg, MD, of Physicians for Social Responsibility. “It is America’s biggest source of toxic air pollution. Air toxics from coal-fired power plants cause cancer, birth defects, and respiratory illness. Just one of those air toxics, mercury, damages the developing brains of fetuses, infants, and small children. It robs our children of healthy neurological development and native intelligence.
“Poisonous power threatens the health of our kids and families. As a pediatrician for over thirty years, I urge us absolutely to support the EPA’s efforts to reduce the health threat from coal.”
Tell the EPA, Senators Warner & Webb, and your member of the U.S. House to back strong mercury pollution standards.