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The Evergreen Community Power Plant (located at bottom center in the above image) is a small power plant that emits toxic chemicals, including lead and mercury. But the nearby community may not even know it's there because the facility avoids public discl

(This blog post first appeared in the Huffington Post on August 29, 2014.)

When you think about sources of toxic air pollution, one of the first things you might picture is a large power plant with huge smoke stacks belching black clouds into the sky. But the truth is that smaller power plants collectively contribute more to the cancer risk faced by Americans every day.

A sign warning of the presence of asbestos.

Every day, just in the course of normal activities, we are exposed to an unbelievable range of toxic chemicals that we may not know about. Of the 80,000 plus chemicals that have been approved to be on the market in the United States, approximately 24,000 are “secret”. Literally, we don’t know what they are.

Chrisangel Nieto, 3, rides his tricycle in Hartman Park, the Manchester neighborhood of Houston, Texas.

The EPA held a second public hearing Tuesday in Houston, regarding its proposed rule on oil refinery emissions—and the testimony was dramatic from people living near the refineries who suffer from exposure to those emissions. Testimony ranged from bipartisan congressmen and industry representatives to environmental organizations and fenceline community members from Texas, Michigan, California, Pennsylvania and Louisiana.

The devastating TVA Kingston coal ash spill of 2008.

It was standing room only, today, in a stately meeting room in the U.S. Capitol building as Senate staffers and a group of citizens gathered for a briefing about the hazards of toxic coal ash waste. Earthjustice and the Sierra Club organized the briefing in an effort to educate elected officials and their staff on the importance of keeping off the Senate floor any legislation that would prevent the EPA from regulating this toxic waste.

Today, because of unrelenting pressure from so many people who have demanded action on climate change, the Obama administration proposed the nation’s first-ever carbon pollution limits on existing power plants—the single biggest source of climate pollution.

Just getting this rule proposed has taken years of effort, and we are thankful for all of our supporters who sent messages urging our public officials to address climate change

Carbon limits for power plants are vitally important for a few key reasons:

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