Public health groups strongly applauded new air quality standards when they were announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in December. They’re now working to shore up support for the rules on Capitol Hill with a new advertisement.
In the ad, the groups thank President Barack Obama for supporting the new standards that reduce pollution that triggers asthma and heart attacks. The rules, issued under the Clean Air Act, apply to coal-fired power plants and the toxic pollutants they emit.
According to EPA, the rules will reduce power plant emissions of mercury by 90 percent, acid gas by 88 percent and sulfur dioxide by 41 percent. The agency estimates the new standards will annually prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths, 4,700 heart attacks, 2,800 cases of chronic bronchitis and up to 5,700 hospital and emergency room visits.
The Clean Air Act and the rules have been targets of repeated attacks in Congress and from industry during the past year.
The ad ran in Tuesday’s issue of Politico. Groups signing on to the ad include APHA, the American Lung Association, National Association of County and City Health Officials and Trust for America’s Health.
Learn more about EPA’s power plant standards and this victory for public health as reported in the February 2012 issue of The Nation’s Health.