Thank You, Senator Alexander, For Protecting Our Health

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The American Lung Association in Tennessee is grateful to Senator Alexander for opposing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to weaken the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.

Mercury causes permanent damage to the brains of babies and unborn children, leading to developmental delays, learning disabilities and birth defects. Power plants also emit more than 80 other hazardous air pollutants identified by the Clean Air Act, including arsenic, chromium, lead and acid gases. These pollutants cause cancer; damage the eyes, skin and breathing passages; harm the kidneys, lungs and nervous system; cause cardiovascular diseases; and kill. When the U.S. EPA adopted MATS, it estimated the rule would prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths each year and prevent 4,700 heart attacks, 130,000 asthma attacks and 5,700 hospital visits annually – and reduce mercury emissions from power plants by 90 percent. 

EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards are a success story. The standards have reduced mercury emissions from power plants and cleaned up dangerous particle pollution at the same time. This is important in Tennessee where TVA has coal plants located in Bull Run, Gallatin, Cumberland and Kingston that have already installed the required controls.

The American Lung Association thanks Senator Alexander for his continued leadership in protecting Tennesseans – particularly babies and children – from these dangerous pollutants. Any proposed action that would weaken these protections, whether directly, by undermining the basis for the standards, or by undercounting or ignoring the lifesaving benefits of the rule, is a threat to the health of the communities we serve.

Tennesseans have nothing to gain from the rollback of these lifesaving, highly effective standards, and many people – including pregnant women and their unborn children – have everything to lose.

Christine Hart
American Lung Association


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