October 8, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 8, 2018) Today, Defend Our Future, a national grassroots organization empowering young people to take action on climate change, released the following statement in response to the Trump administration and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s latest attack on critical air protection, the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards:

“The Trump administration’s efforts to undermine the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) is the administration’s sixth attack in just two months of critical protections against dangerous air pollution. Coal-fired power plants emit at least 84 kinds of hazardous air pollutants, and MATS is the first-ever national safeguard that reduces pollution that is linked to cancer, lung disease and brain damage in babies.

“This dangerous proposal would also set the stage for additional rollbacks of public health protections that safeguard young people, families and communities, particularly underserved communities, from other toxic pollutants.

“The standards work. MATS ensures that 90 percent of the mercury in coal burned in power plants is not released into our air. And the EPA’s own analysis found that MATS save up to 11,000 lives and prevents thousands of heart attacks, asthma attacks and hospital and emergency room visits each year. Young families, minorities and low-income communities will be disproportionately impacted by this latest giveaway to polluters.

“Members of Congress from both parties have urged the Trump administration to leave the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards in place, but Acting Administrator Wheeler would rather gut them anyway. Even power industry leaders have come out in support of keeping the standards.

“Wheeler should listen to the diverse and bipartisan chorus of voices, including many young people, across the country who are demanding their leaders stand up for communities and ensure that the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards are kept in place.”

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