Trump EPA Weakening Mercury and Air Toxic Standards (MATS) Puts Public Health at Risk

STATEMENT BY HOWARD A. LEARNER

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ENVIRONMENTAL LAW & POLICY CENTER

“The Trump EPA’s regulatory analysis in weakening the MATS rule would flunk an intro economics course exam.  The Trump EPA is skewing the regulatory benefit-cost analysis in polluters’ favor by excluding the important real-world health co-benefits of reducing mercury pollution. This distorts sound economic analysis by counting all of the costs, but only some of the benefits.

The Trump EPA’s misguided new rule finds that it’s not ‘appropriate and necessary’ to regulate mercury pollution from coal plants only through bypassing the related health benefits of reducing toxic pollution and by ignoring the great harms to children’s health.  The weakening of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards is legally flawed and should be overturned by the courts.”

Mercury is a known neurotoxin that impairs fetal brain development when it gets into pregnant women’s bloodstreams and crosses the placental barrier. Public health officials continue to issue ‘mercury advisories’ to warn people, especially young children and pregnant women, to reduce or avoid entirely eating fish caught from the Great Lakes and many inland rivers and lakes. The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards is necessary to protect public health, clean water and safe food.

The Trump EPA’s bad math will lead to bad health outcomes for the millions who live, work and play across the Great Lakes. This undermining of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards violates both applicable legal requirements and common sense.”

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