A huge victory against mercury pollution from coal plants

CREDO Action

Thank President Obama and Lisa Jackson for protecting us from toxic coal pollution.

Dear Friend,

Contrary to what you might be hearing from dirty coal companies today, the sky is not falling. In fact, it's about to get a whole lot cleaner.

The EPA just announced that it has finalized The Mercury Rule, one of the most important updates to the Clean Air Act in the Act's 40 year history.

This rule has been in the making for more than two decades, and will finally close one of the biggest loopholes that allow coal-burning power plants — especially decades old plants that were grandfathered in under the Clean Air Act without modern pollution controls — to pump unlimited quantities of Mercury and other toxic pollution into our air, and pass the cost of their pollution to us.

It's a cost that millions of Americans, especially children and the elderly, pay in higher healthcare bills and shorter lives. In fact, the current lack of limits is the reason that one in ten women has mercury levels in her body that are high enough to present a danger during pregnancy.

CREDO Members played a huge role in pushing back on coal industry pressure, and making this happen. Together, we submitted more public comments to the EPA on this rule than any other environmental group — over 160,000.

It's important to acknowledge this victory, even as we wait to see if congress will force a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline. We will monitor that situation closely and will let you know next steps soon in the campaign to get President Obama to reject it. But in the meantime, this is a major win, and we should celebrate.

We commend the Obama Administration and EPA for moving forward on this historic rule. Click here to automatically sign the petition thanking President Obama and Administrator Jackson for doing the right thing.

By substantially reducing coal plants' toxic pollution in our air — where it gets into our water and our food — this rule provide Americans with a projected $60 to $140 billion in medical benefits in 2016.

Not only that, but installing upgraded pollution control equipment to allow power plants to comply with this rule is expected to create nearly 55,000 short and long-term jobs.1 That's about 50,000 more jobs than will be created by building the dirty Keystone XL Pipeline, which was found to actually kill more jobs than it creates long-term, by the only independent analysis conducted on its economic impacts.

The coal industry and their lobbyists have been working overtime to torpedo this rule with scary, false claims about rolling blackouts and higher electricity rates.2 But most electric utilities in this country are ready to comply with the rule.

Of course, coal companies and their indentured servants in congress don't care about the truth, about the health costs they routinely pass onto millions of Americans, about adopting cleaner energy that will protect our health and stave off a climate disaster that getting closer and closer.

They care about coal-fired profits. They get rich. And we get sick. And they do it by perpetuating the false choice between a healthy economy and healthy Americans. They would have you believe there is no way for America to replace the electricity generated by the fifty oldest and dirtiest coal plants in the United States, a small percent of our total generating capacity that may be forced to shut down as a result of this and other rules that are finally putting a stop their unlimited toxic polluting.

Today is a huge step forward in finally having the companies that poison our air be accountable for their dirty pollution. A step that, by coming closer to accounting for the cost of dirty coal pollution, will hopefully bring us closer to the clean energy we need.

President Obama and the EPA will be under tremendous continued pressure to delay implementation of the rule. And already today the President has issued an executive order stating that these rules should be imposed with the least possible cost to industry — possible code for a delay down the road.3

But we can't wait any longer for it. Please thank President Obama and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson for finalizing this rule, and urge them to strongly implement it without delay:


This is a huge moment in the fight against dirty coal. And we couldn't have overcome the opposition of the coal industry, without the massive show of support from hundreds of thousands of Americans, including so many CREDO activists.

Thanks for your activism. Today you helped deliver a huge win for all of us.

Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

1. "EPA Issues First National Standards for Mercury Pollution from Power Plants," EPA, December 21, 2011
2. "Will the EPA's mercury rule cause a wave of blackouts? No. ," The Washington Post, December 21, 2011
3. "EPA unveils rules limiting mercury, other power plant toxins," The Hill, December 21, 2011

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