SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., December 21, 2011 – The EPA has just announced that the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards have been finalized. What follows is the reaction of Interfaith Power & Light’s President, The Rev. Canon Sally G. Bingham:
“This is good news for the religious community across America. The finalization of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards shows us that the 40-year old Clean Air Act is still an invaluable tool to carry out our call to be stewards of God’s Creation and to serve the least among us.
“Clean air is something people of faith have a responsibility to maintain. Thousands of clergy and communities of faith representing Interfaith Power & Light’s network of 14,000 congregations turned out at public hearings or wrote postcards to the EPA urging them to adopt these safeguards. We are delighted that our voices have been heard. The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards are long overdue, and we commend this Administration for making clean air a priority. These safeguards are an important and critical step in reducing harmful pollution and protecting human health. Not only will they keep us healthier, but additionally they will help to stabilize the climate that we most certainly need to protect.
“Addressing emissions of mercury and other toxics will help prevent as many as 17,000 premature deaths, 11,000 heart attacks and 120,000 asthma events every year . These safeguards will mean significantly less human exposure to toxic mercury, which poses particular risks to children. Each year, more than 300,000 children born in the U.S. have levels of mercury in their blood high enough to impair performance on brain development tests and permanently affect intelligence. The finalization of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards is welcome news and upholds the commandment to love God and love our neighbor. Loving our neighbor means extending care and concern for our children and future generations who have, as yet, no voice of their own. We applaud you, Administrator Jackson and President Obama, for doing the right and moral thing.”