Psalm 33:5 states that, “The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.” Today, there’s a wonderful sense of justice as EPA Administrator Regan signed the finalized Mercury and Air Toxics Standard (MATS). This promulgation once again—and hopefully for the final time—determines that it is both appropriate and necessary to regulate mercury and other hazardous gases that have, for decades, inflicted brain damage and other severe health conditions on America’s children.
Since the EPA’s original Regulatory Impact Analysis in 2011, mercury pollution from power plants has declined by 85% with 99.9% of coal-fired generating plants in compliance. The number of women with damaging mercury blood levels has decreased by at least 34%, and the estimated number of children born in the U.S. each year with prenatal exposure to methylmercury levels that exceed the EPA reference dose has declined by half. All of this has been achieved at a fraction of the original estimated cost, with over $418 billion in lifetime benefits achieved from mercury reduction alone (not including those of co-pollutants). These lifetime benefits are much greater than the estimates from the original rule.
“However, the work remains incomplete,” said Mitch Hescox, President/CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network. “That is why we are blessed to support EPA Administrator Regan’s decision to sign the MATS rule and finish the work. Mercury fish consumption advisories are still in place in all 50 states, and at least 200,000 children remain neurologically impacted each year from mercury exposure, costing $4.8 billion per year to our society. Restoring MATS offers all God’s children the opportunity to find an abundant life, and we are so thankful for today’s announcement.”