The mayors of Austin, Houston and San Antonio, joined nearly 100 other mayors from cities and towns across the United States in submitting a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson, demonstrating widespread support for the Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.
These new rules call for national emission standards limiting mercury, arsenic, chromium, acid gases and other toxic airborne contaminants discharged from coal- and oil-fired power plants. Coal plants are the single largest source of mercury pollution, and until now there have been no such national emissions limits.
The mayors supporting the effort represent America’s seven largest cities, as well as a diverse cross section of communities from across the country. Together they represent more than 33 million citizens.
The Center for Disease control estimates that as many as 1 in 6 women of child bearing age have enough mercury in their blood stream to harm a developing baby. Every state now has warnings against eating fish from local rivers, lakes and streams due to mercury contamination. Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin that imperils the brain development of infants and young children, affecting their ability to walk, talk, read, write and learn. Each year over 400,000 infants are born with mercury contamination exceeding safe levels.
Because they are so densely populated, cities are particularly vulnerable to the health impacts of hazardous air pollution. Once fully implemented, EPA expects that the rules will prevent up to 11,000 deaths annually. Additionally, the health protections of these rules – including the prevention of heart and asthma attacks – will save each American $3-$9 in health costs for every dollar spent to reduce toxic pollution.
Click here to read a letter from elected officials expressing strong support for the new standards and take a moment to thank our Texas mayors on Facebook and Twitter!
San Antonio: @JulianCastro
Sample tweet: 91 mayors stand up for EPA’s #mercury protections and #CleanAir4Kids. Thanks @(mayor) for your leadership. http://bitly.com/LZ6Ux0