“Good afternoon. My name is Lizzy Duncan and I am with the League of Conservation Voters. We advocate for sound environmental laws and policies and work to hold elected officials accountable. Thank you for providing the time to speak today. I am here today to urge the EPA to finalize the strongest possible wastewater discharge standards for coal-fired power plants.
The EPA’s current proposal would eliminate over half a billion pounds of water pollution every year by reducing toxic metals and other harmful pollutants that can cause health issues like cancer, heart disease, stroke and lower IQ in children, and can cause deformities in fish, which we rely on for food. In addition, these pollutants are often difficult and costly to remove, which is why proactively eliminating their discharge into our water systems is critical, rather than waiting to fix the problem later. The cost of preventing this pollution should be on power plants, not on the downstream consumers, especially the low wealth communities and communities of color who already bear a higher pollution burden.
It is way past time for coal-fired power plants to upgrade their wastewater treatment technology to achieve zero discharge of pollutants- they have the technology and financial capacity to do so. Complying with stricter standards can and should be done now, not at the end of the decade- the health of our families and communities depends on it.
Clean water is a basic human right- we should be able to trust that the water coming out of the tap is safe for our families. Again, I am urging the EPA to do its duty of protecting the environment and safeguarding our health by no longer giving the coal plant industry a free pass to pollute our waters. Please move swiftly to finalize the strongest water pollution standards possible. “