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Letter and Op-Ed Take House to Task For Environmental Assault

This month, Earthjustice endured many attacks on clean air, including efforts to undo air protections that would slash mercury and other air pollution from cement kilns. In January Rep. John Carter (R-TX) began his protracted assault, starting with a resolution under the Congressional Review Act to kill these important safeguards.

Last night as the House continued its debate on their controversial budget plan, Rep. Carter successfully led the House GOP in a vote of 250 to 177 to dismantle the rules.

Despite Carter’s dogged persistence, we’ve rallied our troops on the ground. Among them, Allie Sheffield, who lives in Topsail, North Carolina. She is an executive board member of Stop Titan Action Network and has spent the past few years challenging a proposed cement kiln in nearby Castle Hayne, which would be the fourth-largest kiln in the nation. In a letter to the Raleigh News & Observer this week, Sheffield wrote:

The proposed Titan cement kiln at Castle Hayne will have dangerous repercussions. Scientists estimate that emissions will travel at least 10 miles and farther, dirtying Wilmington, Figure Eight Island, Wrightsville Beach, Topsail Island, Rocky Point and Hampstead with polluted air. It's estimated that 263 pounds of mercury, 1,456 tons of sulfur dioxide, 1.19 million tons of particulate matter (soot), 6,792 tons of benzene and tons of other harmful chemicals every year could blanket our beaches, leach into our lungs and harm our fish.

Sheffield’s letter goes on to support the cement kilns rules that were passed by the EPA in 2010. These rules would drastically cut the aforementioned amounts of air pollution, she writes.

Today the News & Observer released an editorial, calling the House GOP’s attack on the U.S. EPA “one of history’s sorrier twists,” given that that agency was established by Republican President Richard Nixon.

The editorial continues:

If the EPA is stripped of its ability to enforce new and better ones, it would be wrong to approve a Texas-size cement plant for the watery Wilmington region, where the Lower Cape Fear River already contains troublesome levels of mercury.

Finally, the editorial board calls on President Obama to make a “concrete promise” to veto the House assault on the EPA.

We will continue to fight for these important health protections and we call on others, like Allie Sheffield, to use their voices for this important cause.

Tags:  Mercury