Skip to comments.Move to Undo Protections from Mercury Pollution
Posted on 01/11/2011 10:46:30 AM PST by EBH
House Republicans have announced a Congressional Review Act resolution that seeks to undo EPA rules to control toxic emissions from cement plants. The rules would reduce cement plants emissions of mercury and other toxic substances by more than 90%. EPA scientists have estimated the rules would prevent up to 2,500 premature deaths and thousands of heart and respiratory incidents and save billions of dollars in health costs each year.
Without these important EPA rules, our families will continue to be exposed to mercury and other toxic pollution from the Lafarge plant in Ravena, New York, said Susan Falzon, with Friends of Hudson. It sickens me that some of our elected leaders are trying to remove these protections.
The EPAs finalized protective standards for cement kiln emissions would:
* Cut mercury emissions by 16,600 pounds, roughly 92% * Cut particulate matter emissions by 11,500 tons, roughly 92% * Cut hydrogen chloride emissions by 5,800 tons, roughly 97% * Cut total hydrocarbons emissions by 10,600 tons, roughly 83%
Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxicant that can build up through the food chain and interfere with the brain and other parts of the nervous system, resulting in birth defects, loss of IQ, and developmental problems. Particulate matter causes serious health impacts on lungs and breathing, including decreased lung function, aggravated asthma, irritation of the airways, coughing or difficulty in breathing, as well as heart problems. Hydrogen chloride also causes respiratory problems such as coughing, irritated nose and throat, and heart problems.
These new EPA rules mean less death and disease from pollution in communities hosting dirty kilns, said Becky Bornhorst, chair of Downwinders at Risk. The cement industry wants you to believe meeting the new regulations will drive them out of business, but that is simply not true.
Local communities were promised these protections by Congress when it passed amendments to the Clean Air Act 20 years ago, said Jane Williams of Desert Citizens Against Pollution. This new Congress should not roll back those protections and renege on that promise.
House Republicans should be ashamed of themselves, said Kelly Stryker with Stop Titan Action Network.
Instead of protecting the most vulnerable members of our community, our kids, the elderly and the poor, they are pandering to the cement industry, one of the nations biggest polluters. In my community of Wilmington, North Carolina, Titan Cement wants to build one of the nations largest mercury emitting cement plants adjacent to a mercury impaired river and within two miles of our communitys elementary and middle schools.
The House resolution places thousands of American families at risk, said Jennifer Peterson, attorney with the Environmental Integrity Project. Cement kilns are among the top mercury polluters in many states, and the long overdue EPA rules will protect Americans by drastically reducing mercury and other harmful pollution.
The first, most important concern should be peoples health, said Neil Carman of the Sierra Clubs Lone Star Chapter in Austin, Texas. Cement kilns are major sources of toxic pollution known to cause cancer and a host of other serious health problems. Families living near these massive polluters can not afford to have politics get in the way of much needed protections.
Earthjustice filed a lawsuit in 2004 to compel the EPA to act on mercury and other air pollution from cement kilns and is currently intervening on behalf of the EPA to protect these standards from industry attack.
If the EPA is so worried about mercury, why isn’t filling our homes with mercury containing CFLs not a problem>
Now we can buy our cement from the same folks who make our (mandated) curlicue light bulbs.
But they can't, because it's for the children.
Well, I don’t know the details, but I suspect that if you breathed the smoke for a thousand years, you might get mercury poisoning.
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