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EPA should not weaken mercury air standards

I traveled to the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Washington, D.C. as a member of Moms Clean Air Force on March 18. I testified at the only hearing the EPA held on its proposed changes to the Mercury Air Toxics Standards that protect the air we breathe from mercury pollution.

Andrew Wheeler, new administrator for the federal agency and a former coal lobbyist, is proposing changes to the rules to weaken standards that help protect our air quality as related to coal burning power plants. Why is Trump’s EPA making it easier to add mercury to our air?

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Since their inception in 2012, eight coal plants in Maryland have reduced the amount of mercury and other toxins released into the air because of mercury air restrictions. As such, Maryland has seen a 72 percent decrease in mercury pollution. Each year, Marylanders have $1.8 billion of health care benefits as a result of these standards. Currently our state has 45 bodies of water with fish advisories due to mercury contamination.

It is appropriate and necessary to protect air quality and it is a basic quality of life issue. You can voice your concerns by contacting the EPA and your senators.

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Elizabeth Green, Lutherville

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