April 15, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) released the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a plan to significantly loosen restrictions on the release of mercury and other toxic metals from oil and coal-fired power plants into the atmosphere – some known to cause brain damage and other ailments.
While the final rule change does not eliminate all restrictions on mercury release, these new adjustments are expected to be used to upend current legal controls of pollutants. This is the latest attempt in a series of decisions made by the Trump Administration to rollback crucial health protections just as the nation is poised atop the apex of a historic coronavirus pandemic.
“Again, we’re seeing a White House that is blatantly choosing to harm the health of our communities, children, and planet,” said Rep. Peters. “We've been demanding better leadership from the Trump Administration on the coronavirus emergency and instead of stepping up to protect the well-being of the American people, they think it’s the ideal time to make it easier for San Diegans to get mercury poisoning. Alternatively, I’ve joined congressional colleagues in telling the EPA it should ensure the public can weigh-in on rule changes, instead of rushing comment periods during the pandemic.
“Established science tells us that emissions of mercury and other heavy metals like arsenic wreak havoc on our air quality and dramatically increase our exposure to toxins that cause severe immune, respiratory, nervous and digestive system problems. That’s not to mention the extensive evidence proving mercury pollution causes brain damage in infants before they are even born. The lack of concern for the public’s health right now is astounding, gravely flawed and frankly alarming considering the COVID-19 crisis we currently face,” he added.
Rep. Peters has rebuked other Trump Administration environmental rollbacks, such as the President’s action to rescind the Clean Power Plan in 2019 and rollback the Methane Rule in 2018. The Congressman’s Climate Playbook provides a collection of policy proposals, many of which are bipartisan, that can slow and reverse the effects of climate change.