Today, as EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced the final reduction requirements for mercury and other toxics from power plants, Carol Browner, Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and former director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, released the following statement:
President Barack Obama adopted public health safeguards today that will drastically reduce dangerous emissions of mercury, arsenic, acid gases, and other pollutants from coal-fired power plants. The new safeguards are preventative medicine—they will annually forestall thousands of premature deaths, hospitalizations, and respiratory ailments.
In less than three years, President Obama has reduced harmful air pollution from two major sources: power plants and vehicles. Cleaning up toxic and cross-state air pollution from dirty power plants will save 45,000 lives every year, or prevent nearly five deaths every hour. And modernizing vehicle fuel economy standards will slash carbon dioxide pollution and reduce oil use by more than 2 million barrels per day.
Both initiatives will put tens of thousands of Americans to work inventing, manufacturing, and installing modern pollution-control technologies.
The support for the new toxics reduction rules by some major utilities demonstrate that the standards are readily achievable and affordable, and pose little threat to our electricity system.
In the following “Ask the Expert” video, Browner answers two questions:
What are the public health benefits of these new mercury standards? Can coal-fired power plants meet the new standards without harm? How do the president’s actions on reducing air pollution compare to recent administrations?