Power Plant Pollution Kills People: Close the Toxic Loophole!


It’s not just treehugging, granola munching, sandal-wearing, Kumbaya-singing hippie rhetoric.

It’s the stance of no less of an organization than the venerable American Lung Association, stating that power plant pollution kills people:

“It’s time that we end the ‘toxic loophole’ that has allowed coal-burning power plants to operate without any federal limits on emissions of mercury, arsenic, dioxin, acid gases such as hydrogen chloride and other dangerous pollutants. The American public has waited long enough—more than two decades.” – Charles D. Connor, president and CEO, American Lung Association

A report called Toxic Air: The Case for Cleaning Up Coal-fired Power Plants was recently released by the American Lung Association, in which a wide range of uncontrolled pollutants released from coal burning power plants are spelled out.

These chemicals include toxic metals and metal-like substances (arsenic and lead), dioxins, mercury, cancer causing pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene and radioisotopes, and acid gases (hydrogen chloride).

Among the findings in the report:

  • Particle pollution from power plants is estimated to kill approximately 13,000 people a year
  • Coal-fired power plants produce more hazardous air pollution in the US than any other industrial pollution sources
  • The Clean Air Act requires control of hazardous air pollutants from coal-fired power plants, but without these new rules, no national standards exist to limit these pollutants from these plants
  • Over 400 coal-fired power plants located in 46 states in the US release in more than 386,000 tons of hazardous air pollutants into the atmosphere each year

Power plant pollution kills people. It threatens the brains and nervous system of children. It can cause cancer, heart attacks and strokes.” – Connor

So, we’ve got companies polluting the air we all breathe in the name of profits just for them, the health care costs to deal with the effects of it are staggering, the energy companies would rather pay millions to lobbyists to defeat clean air standards rather than use the technology we have to comply, and to my view, our leaders seem to have balls the size of BBs when it comes to the issue of public health vs. private profits.

We’ve got a serious problem.

Stand up with me and support strong clean air standards. Because it’s not about which party line you subscribe to, it’s about doing right thing for our children. Remember when doing the right thing was the right thing?

Image: Alex E. Proimos at Flickr

Derek Markham

Things I dig include: simple living, natural fatherhood, attachment parenting, natural building, unassisted childbirth (homebirth), bicycles, permaculture, organic and biodynamic gardening, vegan peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, bouldering, and the blues. Find me elsewhere at @NaturalPapa, @DerekMarkham, Google+, or RebelMouse.

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