Valley Watch responds to EPA’s Air Toxics Rule

December 21, 2011-Valley Watch press release issued today.

For Immediate Release     Contact John Blair @ 812-464-5663

Valley Watch is Thrilled with EPA’s issuance of the Mercury and Air Toxics Rule today.

Valley Watch, the Evansville based environmental health organization whose purpose is to “protect the public health and environment of the lower Ohio River Valley,” is delighted with the fact that after twenty-one years, the US EPA is finally mandating rules to significantly reduce the levels of toxic emissions from coal fired power plants.“Since we reside in the very center of the largest concentration of coal fired electricity in North America, if not the world, EPA’s rule today should go a very long way toward improving the health and lives of thousands of tri-state residents, who for too many years, have been forced to breathe in toxic pollution from those coal plants,” asserted John Blair, president of the organization that has achieved a reputation for fighting new coal plants across the Ohio Valley.

Blair went on, “During some years, these plants have polluted the region’s air with more than 60 million pounds of health impacting toxic pollution, causing severe health problems for area residents while most of the electricity produced around here is sold to areas far removed from toxic mess we have in this region. Hopefully, within a decade, tri-state citizens should begin to see a robust and steady improvement in their overall health as this rule is implemented and the level of toxins is significantly reduced.”

Valley Watch has worked for years to persuade the EPA to adopt the rule which was first required when the Clean Air Act was amended in 1990. And of course, Valley Watch was the only regional organization that we are aware of that filed supportive comments and attended the public field hearing held in Chicago last May to speak on behalf of the proposed rule.

Over the years Valley Watch has been criticized by local industrial interests as being “radical and uncompromising” in our efforts to improve the quality of life in the tri-state region. “We make no apologies for the efforts we have made to improve people’s quality of life and health. Our all volunteer staff is amply rewarded for those efforts when we achieve real progress like this rule mandates,” says Blair. He went on, “Of course, controlling this pollution will also create hundreds, if not thousands of new construction jobs in the region which should also help in these trying times.”

More information on the rule can be found at:   http://www.epa.gov/mats/actions.html

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