Today, Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and 7 other members of the House of Representatives introduced a bill (H.R. 2250) that would give the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 15 months to finalize new health standards against the toxic air pollution emitted by industrial boilers. Following Earthjustice litigation, the EPA issued final health standards for industrial boilers earlier this year, but shortly thereafter defied a court order and placed them on hold indefinitely.
The American public has been waiting for these health protections for more than a decade. Further delay will prove deadly, because cleaning up boilers' emissions of fine particulate matter (soot) alone will save between 2,500 and 6,500 lives every year. The boilers controls will also reduce emissions of pollution that can cause cancer and birth defects, such as arsenic, chromium, lead, and mercury.
Below is a statement from Earthjustice attorney James Pew:
"The Griffith bill would postpone the effective date of the industrial boiler health standards by 15 months and then delay compliance for at least another two years. Thus, it would kill between 2,500 and 6,500 people a year for more than 3 years, or between 7,500 and 19,500 people. During that same time, thousands more will suffer from unnecessary heart attacks and asthma attacks, and hundreds of thousands will lose days of work and school because they are too sick to function.
"In each of those years, the economy will be dragged down by billions in dollars of health care costs incurred by people made sick by industrial boilers' pollution."