House Plays Political Games with Children’s Health

Tax bill threatens clean air protections for children and other Americans


Martin Hayden, Earthjustice, (202) 745-5218

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3630, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011. H.R. 3630 included unrelated anti-environmental measures to indefinitely delay standards to protect people’s health from industrial boilers and incinerators and to short-circuit the review of the controversial Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline. Industrial boilers and incinerators are one of the top three sources of mercury emissions in the nation. Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin that is linked to developmental disabilities in children and damage to the brain and nervous system of infants. EPA’s current proposal will prevent up to 8,100 premature deaths, avoid 52,000 asthma attacks and 5,100 heart attacks each year. The following statement is from Martin Hayden, Earthjustice Vice President of Policy and Legislation:

“It is unconscionable that the House of Representatives chose to play political games that threaten the health of our children and other Americans rather than deal with middle class tax relief in a straightforward way. Buried in the House tax bill is a provision to indefinitely delay a long overdue standard to clean up toxic air emissions, including mercury, from industrial boilers and incinerators. This bill would cause thousands of Americans to die unnecessarily every year, and thousands more to suffer serious and debilitating illness. It will encourage the uncontrolled burning of chemicals, plastics, spent solvents and other industrial wastes in communities across the country that already suffer from exposure to far too much toxic pollution. We commend the President for issuing a veto threat for H.R. 3630 and call on the Senate to reject this deadly measure.”

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