April 9, 2011 10:29 am

How Much Poison is OK For Our Kids? Take ACTION This Week

Posted In: Coal Ash, In The News

Published on the HuffPost Green 4/4/2011; Picture above and comments in italics provided by LEO

As a mother of four, the question is absurd to me. Really, can you imagine if you asked someone that question and they answered, “Well, some is ok, as long as it doesn’t kill them, subjecting them to injury and chronic illness seems fine.” That would be insane.

But that is the insanity we are living with today. Coal-fired power plants spew mercury, lead, arsenic and radioactive waste into our air and water with disastrous consequences.

The coal plants are not just spewing a little toxic pollution. They are literally flooding tons into our air and water. Consider this: It takes one gram of mercury per year to contaminate a 20-acre lake so the fish are unfit for human consumption. America’s coal-fired power plants put 72,386 pounds of mercury into the air every year! (To put that in perspective, that’s over 31 million grams of mercury put into our air and water every year.)

Mercury has been proven to cause neurological damage in children. It lowers their IQ and is linked to childhood asthma, cancer and autism. 410,000 infants are born every year in America having been exposed to unsafe levels of mercury while in the womb. Mercury reduces a child’s ability to become a productive member of society, and we all pay a huge price in the impact it has on our families, communities and country.

Yet there are still those who oppose regulations crying, “We can’t afford pollution controls! It’s too expensive!” But for WHOM is it too expensive? In every instance, it is cheaper to prevent pollution than to clean it up. But when polluters pollute for free, it is no wonder they pay to fight regulations. (And they fight hard: the utilities spent $134 million lobbying in 2010.) The parents of children with asthma and autism don’t have the time or money to fund lobbying efforts to reduce mercury from power plants. Without regulations, the burden falls on all of us pay the enormous costs of the injustice of unchecked pollution. We pay with our health, well-being and all of the associated costs, including the huge financial burden of skyrocketing healthcare costs and government funded clean-up efforts.

As with the deceptively clever “Clear Skies Initiative” (Bush-era legislation that actually allowed for more pollution) the polluters have succeeded in convincing elected officials that it is not cost effective to cut pollution.

Until now.

• Here’s the good news. For the first time ever, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed national standards to reduce toxic air pollution from power plants. The benefits of the proposed Mercury and Air Toxic Standards are staggering. The reductions in mercury alone would:
• Prevent as many as 17,000 premature deaths a year
• Prevent as many as 11,000 heart attacks each year
• Prevent approximately 120,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms each year
• Prevent 11,000 cases of acute bronchitis among children each year
• Prevent more than 12,000 emergency room visits and hospital admissions each year
• Prevent 850,000 days of work missed due to illness each year.
The EPA studies have estimated the new ruling will not only improve health, but the economic benefits will outweigh the costs by more than 10 to 1. This is good environmental policy, this is good public health policy and this is good economic policy- pure and simple. Without regulations you and I pay the price to clean up the polluters’ mess. Worse yet, if the mess is not cleaned up, you and I pay an even greater price.

We here in Labadie and Missouri can TAKE ACTION this week by sending a strong message to our legislators in Washington DC…let EPA do their job and support strong coal ash, toxics and mercury rules to protect our communities from disease and risks!

Tell Claire McCaskill, Roy Blunt, Blaine  Luetkemeyer, Lacy Clay, Todd Akin, Russ Carnahan, Vicky Hartzler, Emanuel Cleaver, Samuel Graves , Billy Long and Jo Ann Emerson to STICK UP FOR MISSOURI FAMILIES!  Ask our Missouri legislators to take the lead and author a letter to the EPA saying they represent millions in Missouri that are harmed by toxics from coal-fired plants on a daily basis.  Regulation means protections.  District lines are no protection from air, water and soil contamination!  They ALL represent you.

HOW to look up your legislator? Here is a helpful link.  Not only can you look up legislators, you can also check the committee schedules.  Give you congressman/woman a call and f/u with a hand written letter w/ your concerns.  Health, stifling green jobs growth, dampening property values, keeping us dependent on dirty energy, destroying valuable bottom land/agricultural land for waste storage are only some of the concerns you can voice.  Most of these waste sites are located in river floodplains…meaning close to our drinking water!  Do you have children or grandchildren?  That would be a primary reason to make the calls and write the letters.  Most of us live w/in the 250 mile radius of impact around a power plant and many of us live in communities where coal ash has been stored in unlined ponds or spread on roads.

We all need to speak out to be the power that moves our legislators to represent our needs against those of polluters.

Thank you for making democracy work!

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional     © 2011 Labadie Environmental Organization — All Rights Reserved.
Designed by Premium WordPress® Themes     Powered by WordPress®