A crowd of concerned citizens delivered more than 639,000 comments supporting stronger mercury safeguards to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 1 office in Boston on Tuesday.
The comments, which came from constituents in all 50 states, specifically called on the EPA to limit toxic pollution from coal-fired power plants—which leak 99% of all power-related mercury emissions in the U.S. and serve as the single largest emitter of mercury, arsenic, and acid gas toxins.
The comments, which were the result of the collective action by 200 health, environmental and social justice organizations—including the League of Conservation Voters—were well-received by the EPA office. "This tremendous response signals that Americans know how important it is to cut down on mercury, arsenic and other dangerous pollutants in the air we breathe," said Curt Spalding, Regional Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Region 1 office in Boston. "Not only will these safeguards prevent thousands of premature deaths and cases of asthma and other illnesses, they will level the playing field for power plants already using widely available clean technology. We're relying on the continued input of New Englanders, and all Americans, to help us make these vital safeguards a reality."
The proposed EPA mercury standards are expected to save 17,000 lives annually and prevent 12,200 trips to the hospital once implemented.