Stop administration from MATS rollback

DEAR EDITOR:

Recently, the Trump administration took steps to rollback MATS. MATS is the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards that were put in place by the Obama administration to protect our air from mercury pollution. As an intern for the climate action group Defend Our Future, I have extensively researched this matter and am concerned about the harmful effects that rolling back these protections will have. When coal is being mined, the neurotoxin mercury is released into the air. This can be detrimental to public health, especially for pregnant women and marginalized communities that tend to live on the frontlines of these power plants.

Exposure to mercury for pregnant women can lead to developmental complications and dangers for the fetus. Additionally, coal facilities are often located in low-income communities, so Americans who are struggling financially may also face the burden of health-related issues because of an increase of mercury in the air around their neighborhood. And for what?

According to the EPA, MATS has already prevented over 11,000 premature deaths per year, and a recent report shows that MATS has decreased mercury pollution in Ohio alone by 86 percent. Billions of dollars worth of control technology has already been implemented by coal companies to align themselves with the safety standards set out by MATS, so to throw out what has already been achieved would be both wasteful and damaging to the health of Americans.

We must speak out against this harmful proposal. The public comment period is open, and we can all make our voices heard. Join me in submitting a public comment to EPA asking them to keep these lifesaving and cost-effective protections in place.

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