The Senate will vote on a resolution today to overturn the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards that would dramatically reduce harmful power plant emissions, including mercury and other toxics proven dangerous to human health.
The measure, proposed by Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., would eliminate important public health safeguards that would prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths, 4,700 heart attacks, 130,000 asthma attacks and 5,700 hospital and emergency room visits every year.
Public health advocates are calling on the Senate to resist efforts to weaken these vital standards. The White House has vowed to veto the legislation should it reach the president’s desk.
“Sen. Inhofe’s resolution would take a serious step backwards in our efforts to clean up the air we breathe and help all Americans live healthier, more productive lives,” Georges Benjamin, executive director of APHA, said in a press release.
Several congressional Republicans, including Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Susan Collins, R – Maine, and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., have signaled they would vote to block the measure.
Minority, low-income and marginalized communities, are disproportionally threatened by poor air quality every day. Power plants are the largest emitters of many toxic air pollutants, including mercury, arsenic and acid gases, and emit more than 80 of the 187 hazardous pollutants identified for control by the Clean Air Act.