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EEN Celebrates Life-Saving Standards on Power Plant Pollution

Woman throwing excited toddler in the air

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a suite of finalized pollution safeguards for the power sector, including strengthened standards on hazardous air pollutants under the life-saving Mercury and Air Toxics Standard (MATS) and measures to cut carbon pollution from new gas power plants and existing coal-fired power plants. Together, these critical standards will defend our communities and children from life-threatening toxins like mercury and other Hazardous Air Pollutants–such as hydrochloric acid, arsenic, chromium, and soot–and prevent hundreds of premature deaths and hospital visits in the year 2035 alone. Other final standards released include protections against toxic wastewater and coal ash produced by coal-fired power plants. 

For over a decade, EEN has been a leading voice advocating for safeguards on mercury from coal-fired power plants, with over 145,000 Christians and 150 evangelical leaders standing with EEN to defeat an attempted rollback of the MATS rule in previous years. We at EEN applaud the EPA for finalizing these important safeguards that defend unborn and newly-born children from permanent brain damage and other negative health impacts caused by mercury. These standards are a crucial step toward ensuring a pollution-free world for all God’s children and are estimated to yield $170 million to $220 million in health benefits and $170 million in climate benefits every year.

Cutting carbon pollution from power plants is also a critical solution for a safe climate and clean air. In this past decade, 90% of U.S. counties, home to more than 300 million people, suffered a climate-related disaster, and 2023 marked the world’s warmest year on record. These newly finalized safeguards are an important step forward in cutting climate-warming carbon emissions as a way of defending public health, avoiding the worst impacts of climate-fueled extreme weather, and working toward a safer, brighter climate future. Together with the climate and clean energy investments of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, it is estimated that today’s new rule will cut power plant emissions by 75% relative to 2005 levels by 2035 and generate $370 billion in cumulative net climate and public health benefits through 2047.

In response to today’s announcement, The Rev. Dr. Jessica Moerman, EEN’s President & CEO, released the following statement: 

"America’s youngest–our children both born and unborn–are among the most harmed by pollution and climate impacts from carbon-based energy sources. That’s why we as pro-life Christians celebrate today’s new safeguards against mercury, carbon pollution, and other hazardous air pollution produced by the power sector. As evangelicals, our commitment to defending the life of every single child demands action to ensure every child has clean air to breathe, pure water to drink, and a safe climate to grow and thrive in. While market-based solutions are our preferred choice, in the face of persistent inaction and unwillingness by the power sector to voluntarily clean up their act with clean air and safe climate innovations, we thank Administrator Regan and the EPA for stepping up and standing true to their statutory mission to protect human health and the environment. Today, the EPA and the Administration put our children’s health and future first, and for that we are grateful."

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