Climate Advocates Rally at EPA, Deliver Over 90K Public Comments in Support of Strong MATS Limits

June 23rd, 2023

Climate advocates gather in front of EPA headquarters in Washington, DC to deliver over 90,000 public comments in support of strong Mercury and Air Toxics (MATS) limits

Washington, DC – Today, the Climate Action Campaign (CAC), Moms Clean Air Force, and partners delivered over 90,000 public comments at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) headquarters in support of the Biden administration’s proposal to strengthen Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS). This event came one day ahead of the close of the public comment period.

The advocates–organized by the Climate Action Campaign and its Solutions for Pollution coalition along with Moms Clean Air Force-hand delivered a letter with over 100 public health and environmental groups signed on urging the EPA to finalize the strongest possible standards no later than April 2024.

"EPA’s proposal is grounded in the science, and we know commonsense standards like these have a track record of successfully slashing toxic air pollution, including mercury and arsenic and in so doing protecting our communities’ health.” said Margie Alt, Director of the Climate Action Campaign. “We applaud the administration for taking this important step forward and urge them to finalize the strongest possible standard — one that will safeguard public health and protect those most vulnerable to the effects of these toxins."

“Mercury is a dangerous heavy metal that harms the developing brains of babies and children,” said Liz Brandt, National Field Director for Moms Clean Air Force. “Hundreds of thousands of newborns born in the US each year are at risk of learning disabilities and loss of IQ due to prenatal exposure to mercury. As a social worker I supported families of children with intellectual disabilities for many years. It is difficult for a child and family to thrive while coping with the stigma, daily life challenges and expense of supporting a member with an intellectual disability. Preventing learning and intellectual disabilities is a worthy investment!”

"Mercury is so potent that even a fraction of an ounce can contaminate waterways and make fish unsafe to eat. That’s why EPA must adopt the strongest possible limits on mercury pollution from coal plants,” said Lisa Frank, Executive Director of Environment America’s Washington Legislative Office.

EPA’s proposal would cut pollution that can cause cancer; damage the eyes, skin, and breathing passages; harm the kidneys, lungs, and nervous system; cardiovascular disease; and premature death. All people, including pregnant people and their fetuses, babies, and those that live closest to toxic power plants depend on the Biden administration to set the strongest possible protections.

“The public understands the danger of mercury and demands stronger protections for our families and communities from the toxic scourge. You can see that in this encouraging engagement during the public comment period—the rule resonates with the public and people are pushing for action,” said Alexandra Adams, Senior Director of Federal Affairs at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council).

The event concluded with a visit from Alejandra Nunez, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Mobile Sources, Office of Air and Radiation, who accepted the 90,000 public comments and sign-on letter from the groups.

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