Time to reign in coal power plant pollution

valmont-8-sunseteditors-blog-entry3Just signed on to a Repower America initiative supporting a drive to clean the air we breathe and the water we drink of the toxic outfall from coal-fired power plants.

As Repower America underscores — and it’s good to see this because I think far too many environmentalists focus too much on CO2 to the exclusion of many other deadly pollutants, coal-plants don’t just contribute significantly to global warming, they poison our air and water with sulfur dioxide, particulate pollution, and, perhaps most disturbing, mecury, all of which have significant detrimental health effects.

Repower America notes in an open letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson that mercury can cause birth defects, neurological damage and countless other health issues. Children are the most vulnerable to mercury’s devastating effects; as many as one in six U.S. women of childbearing age may already have enough mercury in their bodies to harm a developing fetus.

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Coal isn’t “cheaper”
Coal is NOT cheaper than renewable energy forms such as solar, wind, geothermal, hyrdo and wave power when you include the health costs incurred by the burning of coal. According to figures cited by Repower America, implementing the so-called Mercury and Air Toxics Rule will help prevent 17,000 deaths and 12,000 hospital visits each year.

Furthermore, annual compliance costs are estimated to be far less than what we pay now to address the health impacts of mercury and other pollution. According to the EPA, every dollar spent to control pollution results in $5 to $13 in health benefits. There are economic benefits as well. For example, compliance with the proposed rule could create up to 31,000 short-term jobs and 9,000 long-term jobs.

For too long, the coal industry has allowed the public to pick up the tab for dangerous pollution like mercury pollution.

Isn’t it about time we stopped?

[To sign onto Repower America’s petition drive to support the Mercury and Air Toxics Rule, go to: http://acp.repoweramerica.org/page/s/mercury.]

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