Standards Plan to weaken protection for Americans…Mercury Contamination ROLLBACK
Mercury is toxic to children and pregnant women
By Casey Skeens
Washington, DC: Oct. 9, 2018 — The National Wildlife Federation urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to halt moves to weaken standards designed to protect Americans against mercury pollution. The regulatory move, which runs counter to centuries of scientific consensus on the health hazards mercury poses to people and wildlife, would undercut the 2011 Mercury and Air Toxic Standards (MATS).
“Mercury is toxic to children and pregnant women — damaging the central nervous system and harming fetal development. When we fail to reduce mercury from sources like coal plants, it winds up in our waterways and builds up in our food chain, especially within fish populations” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “The Administration’s proposal is so unconscionably bad that the regulated power industry — which has already invested more than $18 billion to reduce these incredibly harmful pollutants —opposes it. This rollback is as reckless as it is dangerous to our communities and wildlife. We urge EPA to keep the mercury standards in place to keep Americans safe.”
The EPA has submitted a proposal for White House review that would severely limit consideration of health benefits that justify the existing strict mercury standards for coal-fired power plants. Next steps may include a proposal to directly weaken or undo the emissions requirements.
Based on the EPA’s own projections, maintaining the MATS rule would annually avoid:
Wildlife, including wild horses, thrive where clean air, clean water and conservation practices are upheld. Forrest Fisher Photo
Program Invests in Parks, Trails Central to Our Wildlife Heritage, Public Lands
By Mike Saccone, National Wildlife Federation
WASHINGTON, DC — Congress’s inability to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, one of the United States’ most successful and popular conservation programs, is a “stunning failure,” the National Wildlife Federation’s President and CEO Collin O’Mara said today. O’Mara said Congress should quickly reverse course and revive the critical 1960s-era conservation program.
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is the most successful land conservation program in our nation’s history. Congress’s inability to prevent its expiration is a stunning failure and a betrayal of more than a half century of broad bipartisan support,” O’Mara said. “America’s wildlife heritage, outdoor recreation opportunities and public lands are the envy of the world and drive our $887 billion recreation economy.
“President Johnson said, in signing the Land and Water Conservation Fund into law following its near unanimous passage, ‘True leadership must provide for the next decade and not merely the next day.’ We call upon Congress to heed these sage words and take bold action to ensure that this critical conservation program does not fall victim to gridlock in Washington.”
The Land and Water Conservation Fund uses fees from offshore oil and gas development — at no cost to taxpayers — to invest in urban parks and sports fields, walking and biking trails, historic sites, national parks and other open spaces. The National Wildlife Federation worked closely with Interior Secretary Stewart Udall, Senator Clinton Anderson and Representative Wayne Aspinall to help secure initial passage in 1964 and worked with subsequent Congresses to increase the program’s funding and improve its programmatic impact in 1968, 1970 and 1977.
For the past four years, the National Wildlife Federation has helped lead the charge to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the program, including issuing reports this year on how it supports hunters and anglers as well as families’ access to outdoor recreation..