Court Briefs Filed Today in Appeal of Life-Saving Mercury and Air Toxics Standards

Today, attorneys for large power and coal companies will file briefs in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. challenging EPA’s new life-saving Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for coal- and oil-fired power plants.

These vital clean air standards will prevent as many as 11,000 premature deaths and 130,000 asthma attacks each year, and bring health benefits as high as $90 billion per year starting in 2016.

The standards, which have already survived a challenge in Congress, were announced in December 2011. They are supported by the American Nurses Association, the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association, the NAACP, leading power companies, and the Consumers Union.

Our nation has been working towards reducing emissions of toxic mercury, acid gases, and heavy metals from power plants for over twenty years. While other sources of mercury emissions, such as municipal and hospital incinerators, have since reduced their emissions of mercury by over 90%, power plants continue to poison air, water, and food with nerve-damaging mercury.

We have the technology to protect the health of our children and our communities from toxic air pollution.

17 states have successfully established standards reducing toxic emissions from power plants — and our country is well positioned to provide the control technologies necessary while creating American jobs. Numerous power companies have indicated they can comply with the standards and many have lowered their estimated cost of compliance. A variety of independent studies have found that the standards will not harm electric reliability.

Power plants are responsible for the lion’s share of many toxic pollutants in the U.S., including 50% of all mercury pollution, 77% of acid gases, and 62% of arsenic. Protecting the standards that will clean up these dirty plants is essential for all of us.

EPA will file its brief in response on January 22, 2013, and the states, public health and environmental groups that support the rule, including EDF, will file their response on February 21, 2013.

We’ll be updating our site with the key filings from this case, so keep an eye on our webpage for updates.

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