Alexander, Carper Lead Bipartisan Letter Urging Administration to Keep Mercury Rule Untouched

Posted on March 18, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn., March 18, 2019 – United States Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) today urged the Trump Administration to withdraw a proposed rule that could lead to changes to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Mercury Rule. The senators said that the proposed rule could lead to the undoing of the Mercury Rule, which they say is “critical to protect our children and families from dangerous mercury pollution.” Other senators joining the letter were Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

“We strongly oppose any action that could lead to the undoing of the Mercury Rule (the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards Rule). We write to urge you to withdraw the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) December 27, 2018, proposal that finds it is no longer ‘appropriate and necessary’ to regulate mercury and air toxic emissions from coal and oil fired power plants which could lead to the undoing of the rule. Mercury is a deadly toxin that harms the development of fetuses and children. It makes no sense to take any action that could lead to the weakening of mercury emission standards.”

In a letter sent today to EPA’s Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, the senators say they “support the Mercury Rule because cleaner air means better health, a better economy and better jobs for the residents of our state.”

“As a result of the Mercury Rule, power plants are emitting nearly 90 percent less mercury than a decade ago and we are already seeing the public health benefits. We agree with EPA’s decision to keep the Mercury Rule in place. …We believe it is critical to protect our children and our families from dangerous mercury pollution.”

The full text of the letter is available here.

The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (the Mercury Rule) was finalized in February 2012 to reduce emissions of toxic air pollutants from power plants. In June 2012, Alexander and Carper voted to support the Mercury Rule on the Senate floor. The EPA released a proposed rule on December 27, 2018, to revise regulations related to the Mercury Rule. 

Several health and medical organizations in Tennessee support the Mercury Rule, including the American Lung Association in Tennessee, the American Academy of Pediatrics Tennessee chapter, the Mental Health America of the MidSouth, Physicians for Responsibility Tennessee chapter, Rural Health Association of Tennessee, Tennessee Academy of Family Physicians, Tennessee Association of Adult Day Services, Tennessee Charitable Care Network, Tennessee Nurses Association, Tennessee Primary Care Association, Tennessee Public Health Association and the Tennessee Society for Respiratory Care.

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