Monday March 19, 2012

BRATTLEBORO -- Vermont has joined 11 other states, New York City and the District of Columbia in support of a Clean Air Act rule the would reduce toxic air pollution from power plants in the United States.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently promulgated rules that are meant to reduce toxic air pollution from coal and oil-fired power plants, known as the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.

The rules are meant to curb power plant emissions of mercury and other toxic air pollutants, such as arsenic, cyanide, nickel and selenium, that are known to cause cancer, respiratory illness, and other serious health effects.

"Mercury is a powerful neurotoxin that can affect children’s brain development," stated Attorney General Bill Sorrell in a press release. "Emissions of mercury and other air toxics travel from out-of-state power plants to Vermont and contaminate our air, soil, water, and fish."

The rule will improve the health of Vermonters and its environment.

The EPA estimates that the rule will provide Vermont up to $83 million in health benefits in 2016.

Some business and industry groups challenged the EPA rule in the Federal Circuit Court for the District of Columbia. Vermont is joined in the motion to support the rule by Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, New York City, and the District of Columbia.