For Immediate Release
Oliver Bernstein, 512-289-8618
Sierra Club Applauds President Obama for Landmark Mercury Protection
Measure will protect families, women and children from toxic brain poison
WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rolled out landmark nationwide protections for toxic mercury from dirty power plants. Mercury is a dangerous brain poison that taints the fish we eat and poses a particular threat to prenatal babies and young children.
Exposure in the bloodstreams of pregnant and nursing women can result in birth defects such as learning disabilities, lowered IQ, deafness, blindness and cerebral palsy. Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of mercury pollution in the United States, pumping more than 33 tons of this dangerous toxin into our air and water each year.
The new protection, which replaces a weak, court-rejected standard from the Bush Administration, will slash mercury pollution from power plants by more than 90 percent and improve air quality for millions of Americans.
In response, Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, issued the following statement:
"Today’s announcement from President Obama and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson marks a milestone for parents and families across the country. It means that, after decades of delay, we now have strong nationwide protections against toxic mercury, and most of all, it means peace of mind for the parents of more than 300,000 American babies born every year that have been exposed to dangerous levels of mercury.
"The Sierra Club applauds the President and his Administration for their courage and resolve in protecting American families – particularly women and children – from this dangerous toxin and for standing up to polluters' attempts to weaken this life-saving protection.
"More than 800,000 public comments – a record – were filed in support of the protection, and we are pleased that the President heard the concerns of the American people."
The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.