Mitt Romney has once again taken a stand against clean air and public health. The GOP nominee released a statement yesterday slamming the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, landmark legislation that would limit emissions of mercury and other pollutants from coal-fired power plants.
The rule came under fire from Sen. James Inhofe, whose measure to derail the safeguards failed yesterday. The defeat was a significant environmental accomplishment and a clear sign of bipartisan support for EPA regulation of clean air.
Romney’s move is in contrast with his record as governor of Massachusetts, where he compared coal pollution to “killing people” and worked to cut mercury pollution from power plants in 2003. Back then, he hailed his clampdown on mercury as having “a positive effect on the environment and public health for many years,” and even sued the EPA to demand the very rules on mercury that Sen. James Inhofe is now trying to overturn.
Now, he’s singing a different tune as he has adopted a fiercely anti-environment energy agenda on the campaign trail. Despite a National Journal poll revealing that 57 percent of Americans support the EPA’s mercury limits, Romney opposes the EPA safeguards on the grounds that they are costly and kill jobs. In fact, EPA estimates that MATS will create 46,000 short-term construction jobs and 8,000 long-term utility jobs, while providing at least $37 billion in health benefits.