December 28, 2018
Contact: Susan Stephenson
Faith leaders condemn Trump EPA’s Proposal to weaken Mercury Pollution Standards
Today, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler proposed to weaken mercury pollution standards. These commonsense safeguards were designed to limit the release of mercury pollution, a neurotoxin, from dirty coal-fired power plants.
Rev. Susan Hendershot, President of Interfaith Power & Light, stated: “Weakening the Mercury Pollution Standards would endanger the health of the most vulnerable among us—babies and children. It is a grave moral wrong for the Trump Administration to even consider weakening these limits, and sacrifice children’s health for industry profits. People of faith and conscience call on the Administration to drop this senseless attack and protect the health of its citizens.”
Weakening the mercury standards would harm the health of pregnant women and babies. Babies exposed to mercury in the womb suffer long-term impacts on their memory, cognitive thinking, language, and fine motor skills. EPA studies before the mercury standards were adopted found that one child in six born in the United States had mercury exposure in utero.
Exposure to mercury also impacts adults: exposure affects vital organs like the lungs, kidneys, brain, and heart. People of color are disproportionately impacted, as they are more likely to live and work in areas with the worst air quality and closest to polluting power plants that emit mercury.
Rev. Michael Malcom, executive director of Alabama Interfaith Power & Light said, “We are deeply saddened by the proposed weakening of mercury pollution standards by Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. We are saddened because we care about future generations, as well as the mothers that carry those futures. It is a moral injustice not to do everything in our power to ensure that their future is secure. Profits over people is the wrong perspective and is not sustainable. We cannot allow greed and self-interest to prevail in our government.”
Interfaith Power & Light is mobilizing a religious response to global warming in congregations through the promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.