Natural Resources Council of Maine * American Lung Association of Maine
AUGUSTA, ME – The Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) and American Lung Association of Maine (ALA-ME) today called on the Bush Administration and Congress to make an “urgent fix” to an electric power plant cleanup plan struck down by a federal appeals court.
“Literally hundreds of people in Maine could die prematurely unless the government takes swift and decisive action to clean up power plants emissions,” said Dylan Voorehees, NRCM’s Clean Energy Director.
The controversy involves the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s so-called “Clean Air Interstate Rule,” issued by the Agency in 2005, and struck down today (July 11) by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
The rule was a political compromise aimed at reducing power plant emissions of soot and smog-forming sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides by about 70% in the Eastern U.S. by 2015. According to EPA’s analysis, the pollution reductions would prevent 13,000 premature deaths in 2010, 18,000 in 2015, and 22,000 premature deaths in 2020.
In Maine, power plant pollution is responsible for an estimated 64 premature deaths, 131 heart attacks and 1,347 asthma attacks.
A coalition of electric power companies led by Duke Energy filed suit against the rules.
“This decision is bad news for everyone who breaths. Maine is at the end of the tailpipe, so prevailing winds deliver pollution from dirty power plants upwind to us,” said Voorhees. “It will leave Mainers exposed to dirty air and headed to hospitals and morgues prematurely.”
“The developing lungs of children are especially sensitive to air pollution, as are seniors and those with lung diseases like asthma,” said Norm Anderson from ALA-ME. “It is time for EPA to get to work and issue a rule that complies with the Clean Air Act, in order to lock in critical health protections for millions of Americans.”
“We encourage EPA to act swiftly, and urge Congress to step in and protect the public from critically harmful power plant emissions,” said Voorhees.
Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) has introduced bipartisan legislation to sharply reduce power plant emissions.