The following statement is from James Pew, Earthjustice attorney, regarding the closing of public comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule to curb toxic air pollution from cement kilns.
“For the last three months, the EPA has heard from tens of thousands of Americans about the importance of protecting public health and the environment by curbing toxic air pollution from cement kilns. The agency has listened and they have acted, proposing cuts that will curb mercury by up to 93%, particulate matter by up to 96%, hydrochloric acid by up to 94% and more. The EPA estimates that cuts in particulate matter alone will prevent up to 1,600 premature deaths every year.
“At public hearings in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Washington, D.C., hundreds of citizens turned out to tell the EPA to stand strong against pressure from industry to scale back their plans. We continue to support the EPA and their proposal and hope they will stand by their proposed cuts.
“We are particularly pleased by the leadership and involvement that Congress has provided on this important rulemaking. Rep. Edie Bernice Johnson drafted and championed a letter that was signed by 15 other members of Congress and delivered to the EPA this week.
“This cement kiln proposal sends a strong signal that the Obama administration is taking a much different approach to protecting the public from toxic air pollution, one based on following the law, respecting science, and seeking input from environmental groups and health advocates.”