President, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter Encourages Senate to Reject Efforts to Block Implementation
WASHINGTON, June 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At its annual meeting last week, the U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously passed a resolution supporting the EPA's Mercury and Air Toxics (MACT) Standards Rule, demonstrating widespread support of the Agency's effort (resolution at usmayors.org). Today, president, Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter urged the U.S. Senate to reject efforts to block the implementation of this important public health rule through the seldom used Congressional Review Act.
The 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. While other major sources of mercury have long face emissions controls, until now there have been no such national emissions limits for power plants which are the single largest source of mercury pollution. Congress first called for these rules in 1990.
"Twenty-two years of stalling and delay is too long for our communities to wait for fundamental rights such as healthy air and water," said Mayor Nutter, the USCM's new president. "The tragedy is that this toxic pollution is avoidable. The new limits are entirely reasonable and long overdue."
The Center for Disease Control estimates that as many as one in six women of child bearing age have enough mercury in their blood stream to harm a developing baby. 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 the average American $3-$9 in health costs for every dollar spent to reduce toxic pollution.
"Mayors understand the real day-to-day needs of protecting the health of our citizens," said Mayor Nutter, "and we strongly support the work of Administrator Jackson and the EPA in this regard. We encourage the U.S. Senate to do the same."
The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,210 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/usmayors, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/usmayors.
(full text of EPA letter below)
Environmental Protection Agency
Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460
Dear Administrator Jackson,
As local elected officials representing big cities and small towns, we want to express our strong support for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) recently issued Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for Power Plants (MATS). Mayors are on the front lines of protecting public health and this long overdue safeguard will reap tremendous benefits for our communities.
Mercury pollution, much of it coming from coal-fired power plants, represents a particularly widespread threat to families nationwide. According to your agency's own analysis, as of 2010, all 50 states have fish consumption advisories in place to warn residents of the potential health effects of eating fish caught from local waters. Of these advisories, 81% were issued in part because of mercury pollution accumulated within the aquatic food chain.
A dangerous neurotoxin, mercury poses a particular threat to pregnant women and small children. Exposure affects a developing child's ability to walk, talk, read, write and learn. The Center for Disease Control, along with your agency, estimate that as many as 1 in 6 women of childbearing age have high enough mercury levels in their blood to harm a developing fetus. Additionally, these rules will reduce exposure to a host of other health-threatening toxics, including arsenic, cyanide, chromium and acid gases.
EPA's own regulatory impact review of the rules predicts it will save citizens as much as $90 billion annually when fully implemented through lower health care costs. Each year, this translates into as many as 11,000 lives saved, 4,700 heart attacks and 130,000 asthma attacks prevented, and 5,700 hospital visits avoided.
Clean, healthy air and water are fundamental American rights and we are eager to work with your agency to ensure these historic protections are quickly implemented.
Albany, NY - Gerald Jennings
Alexandria, VA - Bill Euille
Ann Arbor, MI - John Hieftje
Atlanta, GA - Kasim Reed
Austin, MN - Thomas Stiehm
Austin, TX - Lee Leffingwell
Berea, KY - Steven Connelly
Bethlehem Township, NJ - John Graefe
Beverly, MA - Bill Scanlon
Biscayne Park, FL - Noah Jacobs
Bloomington, IN - Mark Kruzan
Boston, MA - Thomas Menino
Burlington, VT - Bob Kiss
Charlottesville, VA - Satyendra Huja
Chicago, IL - Rahm Emanuel
Cincinnati, OH - Mark Mallory
Cohoes, NY - John T. McDonald, III
College Park, MD - Andrew Fellows
Columbus, OH - Michael B. Coleman
Cutler Bay, FL - Ed MacDougall
Dearborn Heights, MI - Daniel S. Paletko
Decatur, GA - Bill Floyd
Denver, CO - Michael B. Hancock
Duluth, MN - Don Ness
Durham, NC - William V. "Bill" Bell
Eden Prairie, MN - Nancy Tyra-Lukens
Eugene, OR - Kitty Piercy
Falcon Heights, MN - Peter Lindstrom
Fayetteville, AR - Lioneld Jordan
Florence, SC - Stephen J. Wukela
Frankfort, KY - Gippy H.Graham
Glendale, CA - Laura Friedman
Hallandale Beach, FL - Joy Cooper
Hampton, VA - Molly Ward
Hartford, CT - Pedro C. Segarra
Henderson, NV - Andy Hafen,
Houston, TX - Annise Parker
Jackson, MS - Harvey Johnson, Jr.
Jordan, MN - Pete Ewals
La Mesa, CA - Art Madrid
Lambertville, NJ- David DelVecchio,
Las Vegas, NV - Carolyn Goodman
Long Beach, NY - Jack Schnirman
Los Angeles, CA - Antonio Villaraigosa
Macon, GA - Robert Reichert
Madison, WI - Paul Soglin
Manhattan Beach, CA - Richard P. Montgomery
Maplewood, MN - Will Rossbach
Maui County, HI - Alan M. Arakawa
Mayfield Village, OH - Bruce G. Rinker
Memphis, TN - A C Wharton, Jr.
Minneapolis, MN - R.T. Rybak
Missoula, MT - John Engen
Montgomery, AL - Todd Strange
New York, NY - Michael R. Bloomberg
Oak Park Heights, MN - David Beaudet
Osakis, MN - Keith Emerson
Peekskill, NY - Mary F. Foster
Pembroke Pines, FL - Frank C. Ortis
Philadelphia, PA - Michael Nutter
Phoenix, AZ - Greg Stanton
Pinecrest, FL - Cindy Lerner
Pittsburgh, PA - Luke Ravenstahl
Pittsfield Charter Township, MI - Mandy Grewal
Pleasanton, CA - Jennifer Hosterman
Poquoson, VA - Eugene W. Hunt, Jr.
Portland, ME - Michael F. Brennan
Portland, OR - Sam Adams
Providence, RI - Angel Taveras
Redmond, WA - John Marchione
Sacramento, CA - Kevin Johnson
Saint Paul, MN - Christopher B. Coleman
San Antonio, TX - Julian Castro
Santa Fe, NM - David Coss
Santa Monica, CA - Richard Bloom
Sauk Rapids, MN - Dave Saunders
Savannah, GA - Edna Jackson
Seattle, WA - Michael McGinn
Shepherdstown, WV - Arthur III Auxer
Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribe of the Lake Traverse Reservation, SD - Robert Shepherd
South Miami, FL - Philip K Stoddard, PhD
Takoma Park, MD - Bruce R. Williams
Urbana, IL - Laurel Prussing
Warren, MI - James Fouts
Washington, DC - Vincent C. Gray
Westland, MI - William R. Wild
White Plains, NY - Thomas M.Roach
Wilmington, DE - James M. Baker
Wilmore, KY - Harold Rainwater
Yonkers, NY - Mike Spano
Ypsilanti, MI - Paul Schreibe
SOURCE The U.S. Conference of Mayors