BURLINGTON, Vt., Dec. 21 - U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today praised the Environmental Protection Agency for forcing coal- and oil-fired power plants to reduce emissions.
"I strongly support the Clean Air Act standards announced today that will slash toxic air pollution, such as mercury and arsenic, from our nation's power plants," said Sanders, a member of the Senate environment committee.
"We know from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that mercury can cause brain damage and is particularly harmful to infants and young children. We also know that installing the necessary pollution control scrubbers and equipment will create jobs as we update our power plants. This clean air rule is long overdue, and I commend EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson for protecting our family's health and wellbeing," Sanders added.
Sanders and other senators wrote a letter to the White House on Dec. 16 urging President Obama not to delay implementation of the rule.
Power plants that have not installed equipment to reduce emissions are the largest remaining source of uncontrolled toxic air pollution in the United States.
The EPA rule would prevent the release of about 90 percent of the mercury in coal and cut emissions of other toxic substances, such as arsenic.
Medical experts estimated that the rule would prevent 11,000 premature deaths and 4,700 heart attacks a year, prevent 130,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms and result in about 6,300 fewer cases of acute bronchitis among children each year.
Enforcing the stricter rule also would create an estimated 46,000 short-term construction jobs and result in 8,000 permanent jobs.