STATEMENT: The EPA’s New Policy Rollback Is a Direct Attack on Public Health

Washington, D.C. — Responding to news that Acting Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler plans to take steps to roll back safeguards against toxic mercury pollution, including through undermining the standards’ legal foundation, Christy Goldfuss, senior vice president of Energy and Environment Policy, issued the following statement:

This is a direct attack on the health of children, pregnant women, and families. It is the first step in allowing power plants to spew more toxins such as mercury into our air just to benefit a few top coal company executives. This move is beyond the pale – even for an administration whose culture of corruption has run rampant. And to do it during a government shutdown, when the EPA is poised to run out of money tonight, is shameful.

This reckless action to poison our air begs an important question: Is Wheeler still working for his former client Murray Energy, or is he working for the American people? The new House leadership has pledged to investigate why Wheeler and his predecessor have decided time and again to weaken public health standards and roll back efforts to stop climate pollution. He must face tough questions about his fitness for the top job of protecting Americans from pollution that destroys our water, air, and climate.

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.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at shananel@americanprogress.org or 202.478.6327.