Suing For The Right To Pollute

By Dominique Browning Via Moms Clean Air ForceMandy Warner is a new mom; her daughter Daphne was born about 6 months ago. She has been following the progress of the mercury regulations for years. She recently returned from maternity leave only to find out that she must redouble her efforts to support the new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. Polluting utilities are now suing for their right to pollute our air with poisons. And as usual, they claim that the controls are too expensive to adopt. But they’re telling their investors a completely different story. I’ll let Mandy — the analyst — explain:

As power plant pollution control projects continue, we are seeing — yet again — that the cost of meeting clean air standards, like the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for power plants (MATS), has fallen.

This past quarter, American Electric Power (AEP) and FirstEnergy each told their investors that their anticipated costs for meeting environmental standards dropped.AEP has lowered its estimated costs of following environmental standards by half, from a high of $8 billion down to $4 to $5 billion.AEP was the top emitter of mercury, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur dioxide in 2011 among the top 100 power producers in the U.S.And … AEP is a leader in the lawsuit to halt the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.FirstEnergy has dropped its estimated costs of following environmental standards from a high of $3 billion down to $925 million (which is $50 million lower than they estimated last quarter).FirstEnergy was the sixth highest emitter of mercury in 2011 among the top 100 power producers.And …First Energy is challenging the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards in court.”

Mandy’s research into the facts and figures tell the real story of a cynical resistance to pollution control — though why utilities would want to keep pouring poisons into our air is beyond me. We parents have to take back our power — literally. We cannot let polluters carry on with their cynical business-as-usual approach, while spewing into our air powerful neurotoxins that damage the brains, lungs and hearts of unborn babies, infants and toddlers. Mandy — the new mother, who is a bit sleepless, remember those days? — should have the final word:


It is hard not to feel overwhelmed at times with all of the worries that come with being a (new) mom. It is hard not to feel powerless at times with all of the threats in the world, including those real threats to our basic need for clean, healthy air. But I have learned that we as mothers are far from powerless. Our voice is stronger than even the most well-funded opponents that would distort the truth about the real impacts and costs of pollution. It is our duty as mothers to unite for what’s right until we’ve won the day.”