Saturday, December 10, 2011

A MERCURY MASSACRE? will Obama and Senate Democrats kill toxic boiler cleanup as part of tax deal?

Rumor of the day: the President and Senate leaders are reported to be entertaining the idea of including in the pending tax legislation an amendment or rider that would block EPA toxic air pollution standards for boilers. Deals are being cut behind closed doors this weekend.

Let’s hope this is not true. The Obama administration appears to be expecting environmentalist applause for its upcoming mercury/toxic standards for electric power plants. It would be pretty hypocritical to permit the same type of toxic emissions to continue spewing from industrial boilers.

A mercury massacre? Say it ain’t so!

Senator Boxer's office has released the following:

For Immediate Release Contact: Mary Kerr or Kate Gilman: 202-224-8832
December 9, 2011 or

U.S. Senate Committee on
Environment and Public Works
Boxer Calls on House Republicans to Stand with American People, Not Polluters
Calls for dropping dangerous riders from must-pass legislation

Washington, D.C. – Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, is calling on House Republicans to drop dangerous provisions from their payroll tax cut legislation that would stop a clean air rule that protects the American people from toxic mercury and arsenic pollution. The proposal also includes a provision to immediately move forward on the tar sands XL pipeline without proper consideration of public health and safety.

Senator Boxer said: “Why on earth would the Republicans give a payroll tax cut with one hand, and with the other hand, increase the likelihood of premature deaths, heart attacks, cancer, and developmental disabilities in children?

We know that this boiler MACT rule that Republicans are rushing to repeal will prevent up to 8,100 premature deaths per year, 52,000 asthma cases per year, 5,100 hearts attacks per year, and 400,000 lost work days per year.

There is no reason to do this other than to protect the largest polluters in the nation who should be cleaning up their act.

I also call on House Republicans to drop their provisions approving the controversial tar sands XL pipeline provision. As President Obama has said, this needs further study on the project’s implications for public health and safety. In fact, questions have been raised about the health and safety reviews to date and their connection to the polluter.

If there is one thing all Americans are united on it is their negative feelings about attaching unrelated matters to must-pass legislation that is needed to protect the economy -- especially when these provisions haven’t even had a vote. The House Republicans need to acknowledge that they should be serving the people, not the polluters.”

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