May 18, 2005 – At least ten clean air and public health advocacy groups filed federal suits Tuesday accusing the US Environmental Protection Agency of illegally blocking important provisions in the Clean Air Act and delaying crucial reductions in mercury emissions from power plants.
The groups said in a statement that the EPA has taken power plants off of a list of industrial sources for which the federal law requires tough air pollution standards.
Additionally, they contend the agency has stopped a plan designed to put tight controls on power plant pollution in three years, replacing it instead with a program the agency acknowledges would not be implemented for at least 15 years.
Those groups challenging the EPA include: Earthjustice, Sierra Club, Environmental Defense, National Wildlife Federation, Clean Air Task Force, Ohio Environmental Council, US Public Interest Research Group (US PIRG), Natural Resources Council of Maine, Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), Waterkeeper Alliance and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
Coal-burning power plants send hundreds of tons of mercury and other toxins into the air each year. So far, 44 states have issued fish consumption advisories due to mercury contamination in their water, and at least 13 have sued the EPA over its mercury rule.