Today, the U.S. Senate rejected an amendment that would have exempted industrial power plants (a.k.a. boilers) from the Clean Air Act, thereby leading to the deaths of up to 8,100 people every year. There are approximately 1,750 major industrial power plants at more than 700 facilities across the country that must reduce their toxic emissions of lead, mercury and other toxic pollutants under standards recently proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. The amendment rejected today, offered by Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, would have allowed these polluters to go on polluting without any enforceable limits on their toxic emissions.
People living near industrial power plants pay a disproportionate cost in increased cancer risk, heart attacks, asthma and other respiratory illness.
(Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice)
Below is a statement from Trip Van Noppen, President of Earthjustice:
“Today marks an important moment in the struggle for clean, breathable air. The congressional allies of big polluters have been trying for the past two years to exempt industrial power plants from the Clean Air Act, and they’ve used every sneaky trick in the book to get it done—repeatedly attaching policy riders that wouldn’t stand a chance of passing on their own to pieces of unrelated, must-pass legislation like the Transportation bill.
"That devious strategy was just rejected, and the health of the American public is far better off for it. It’s time to move forward with reducing the burden that industrial power plants put on the health of the American public: thousands of premature deaths, 5,100 heart attacks and 52,000 asthma attacks every year.
"We appreciate the stand that many senators took in rejecting this dangerous amendment. The owners of industrial power plants are well connected and have deep pockets, but today’s vote also demonstrates that concern for constituents’ health is also alive and well.”
Learn more about the location and emissions of industrial power plants.