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Capps Applauds New EPA Standards to Reduce Mercury Pollution

Congresswoman calls it 'one of the most significant actions' taken in 20 years

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Wednesday applauded the release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new Mercury and Air Toxics standards for power plants.

Capps has led congressional efforts in support of strong standards that will significantly reduce the amount of mercury in the air.

“I commend the EPA for finalizing its Mercury and Air Toxics standards for power plants,” Capps said. “This common sense step is one of the most significant actions we’ve taken to protect the public health in the past 20 years. It will significantly reduce toxic air pollution, saving tens of thousands of lives and helping reduce children’s exposure to mercury, a dangerous brain poison that especially affects developing fetuses, infants and toddlers.

“In addition to preventing thousands of deaths, asthma cases and hospital visits each year, the new standards will have tremendous economic benefits by creating new construction and retrofit jobs at power plants across the country. For too long, polluting industries have allowed the public to pick up the tab for dangerous pollution like mercury. The Obama administration got this decision right.”

In June, Capps led an effort on the mercury rule and was joined by more than 100 colleagues in the House of Representatives in writing to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in support of the agency’s power plant air toxics rule. The letter cited the public health benefits of the new standards, including saving thousands of lives and preventing serious illness, as well as having a positive impact on job creation.

Capps also filed an amendment to strike a policy rider in the House Republicans’ FY12 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill that would have blocked the EPA’s action. The rider was not included in the omnibus package passed by the House and Senate.

Just last week, Capps was joined by 40 of her Democratic women colleagues in urging President Barack Obama to support the strong standards by highlighting the impact toxic air pollution, specifically mercury, has on women and children.

— Ashley Schapitl is press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.


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