For Immediate Release

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Statement on Today’s Supreme Court Hearing to Decide Profits vs People

11,000 lives a year at stake as coal industry and its allies oppose EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standard

WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a critical case involving mercury and other toxic air pollution from coal-fired power plants. At stake are up to 11,000 lives a year, and a precedent that industry profits are more important than people.

In late 2011, after an 11-year process, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the first-ever national standards for mercury and other toxic air pollution from power plants. By requiring the worst-polluting plants to match the performance and technology of their more responsible competitors, the standards will save between 4,200 and 11,000 lives every year.

Statement from Lisa Garcia, Earthjustice’s Vice President of Litigation for Healthy Communities:

“Today the coal industry and its allies struggled to answer some of the tough questions from the justices. No one disputed the fact that this EPA safeguard will prevent up to 11,000 unnecessary deaths, 4,700 heart attacks and 130,000 asthma attacks each year, and no one disputed that mercury is toxic. The Clean Air Act was written to give EPA the authority to protect public health. We are confident that the Supreme Court will uphold these life-saving protections. Corporate profits should not be put before people’s lives.”


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