December 22, 2011

Finally . . . Mercury and toxic air pollution standards

What a great Christmas present for those of us worried about the mercury and other toxins emitted every day from nearby coal-burning power plants. The EPA just set the first-ever national standards for mercury and other toxic air pollution for power plants. Too late for the Madhatter, but in time for us.

These historic new health standards will save lives, help prevent illnesses like asthma and bronchitis, avoid hospitalizations and missed days at work, and create jobs in pollution control technology. The folks fighting against these standards should note that last objective--JOBS.

Why anyone would prefer power plants to keep spewing out mercury, arsenic, lead, dioxins, acid gases and other harmful pollutants is beyond my understanding.The EPA estimates that these new standards will save thousands of lives, prevent up to 120,000 cases of childhood asthma and avert 11,000 cases of acute childhood bronchitis every year starting in 2015.

So thank you, Santa, for having Lisa Jackson (EPA chief) as one of your elves. This has been a long time coming--20 years. President H. W. Bush authorized the EPA to reduce air toxins in 1990. Now I can sleep in heavenly peace.

Or will this provide political fodder in the coming months? Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) is already fuming and threatening to overturn this ruling. Perhaps he should take some deep breaths near a coal-burning plant. Or maybe he already has. The Madhatter did, and might agree with Inhofe that climate change is a hoax.