Washington, D.C. — Mercury emissions from power plants dropped by a stunning 81.7 percent from 2011 through 2017, according to a new analysis from the Center for American Progress that warns of the danger in rolling back critical emissions safeguards responsible for the decline.
The sharp reduction has come since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) in 2011. These standards played a key role in reducing mercury emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants across the country. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that can affect fetal and child brain development.
The new analysis comes just as the Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, has indicated he is considering rolling back key components of these mercury safeguards.
“These safeguards have been wildly successful in reducing the amount of toxic mercury in our air and water, bringing numerous health benefits to children and families across the country,” said Sally Hardin, lead author of the issue brief and a research analyst at CAP. “That Andrew Wheeler would even think about getting rid of them shows exactly who he’s working for: polluters, and not the American people.”
The analysis shows the success that each state has had in reducing toxic mercury emissions with the help of the MATS. In fact, from 2011 through 2017, seven of the highest-polluting states successfully reduced their mercury emissions by more than 2,000 pounds: Texas, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Missouri. For context, a decrease of 2,000 pounds is more than four times the top mercury-emitting plant in 2017.
Read the brief: “Trump’s EPA Poised to Undo Progress on Mercury Pollution Reduction” by Sally Hardin and Angelica Lujan
For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Sam Hananel at gro.ssergorpnacirema@lenanahs or 202-478-6327.