Coal-fired power plants are the worst of the worst industrial polluters. Toxic air pollutants from power plants are linked to asthma, heart disease, cancer, and thousands of premature deaths each year. That is why Earthjustice has fought for nationwide protections to clean up air emissions from power plants and we need your help to defend and strengthen this rule.
The idea of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) is to get all the air toxics out of power plants, not just mercury. Until the MATS rule came online, coal plants accounted for half of the total man-made emissions of mercury in America and more than half of all arsenic, hydrochloric acid, hydrogen fluoride, and selenium emissions.
Controlling pollution from power plants improves public health for people across the country by reducing fatal heart attacks, reducing cancer risks and avoiding neurodevelopmental delays in children. These public health improvements are also important for Indigenous communities, low–income communities, and people of color, whose neighborhoods have been disproportionately targeted as places where it's acceptable to place polluting facilities.
The EPA proposed restoring the legal finding that it is “appropriate and necessary” to regulate power plants’ hazardous air emissions, after former EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler (incidentally, a former coal lobbyist) tried to gut the rule. Restoring the finding paves the way for the EPA to strengthen MATS and ensure that all communities are fully protected from this dangerous pollution.
More progress is needed, however, as power plants are still allowed to emit unlimited quantities of certain other harmful pollutants like benzene and dioxins. Plants should be required to further reduce their pollution through stronger pollution controls and more consistent monitoring and maintenance of their equipment.
We are calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to restore this commonsense legal finding which will pave the way to strengthen MATS. Everyone, no matter their zip code, has the right to clean air and a healthy environment. Tell the EPA to restore MATS today!