EDF legal expert to testify before Senate on health, environmental benefits of new EPA mercury rules

March 19, 2012

MEDIA ADVISORY: Tuesday March 20, 10 A.M.

Jennifer Andreassen, 202-572-3387, jandreassen@edf.org

Vickie Patton, General Counsel of Environmental Defense Fund, will be testifying tomorrow before the Senate on the health and environmental benefits of its new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) for power plants. The oversight hearing of the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule will be held in the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety.

Patton will be available to speak to reporters in-person after the hearing. Additional EDF experts are available to comment: contact Jennifer at 202-572-3387 / jandreassen@edf.org.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012, 10:00 A.M.

406 Dirksen Senate Office Building; or watch online: http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Home

Vickie Patton, General Counsel, Environmental Defense Fund

The Senate Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, under the Environment and Public Works Committee, is conducting an oversight review of EPA’s new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, which place the first-ever federal limits on mercury and other toxic air pollution from coal- and oil-fired power plants in the United States.

Unveiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in December 2011, the rule will prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths each year.

Power plants are responsible for half of all manmade mercury emissions, as well as 75 percent of acid gases, and 60 percent of arsenic. Mercury exposure can cause brain damage in infants, and can affect children’s ability to walk, talk, read and learn. Experts estimate that hundreds of thousands of babies are born each year with potentially unsafe levels of mercury in their blood. 

Many of the other toxic pollutants also controlled by the new rules — such as chromium, arsenic, dioxin and acid gases — are known or probable carcinogens and can attack the brain, lungs, liver, and kidneys.


Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading national nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. See twitter.com/EnvDefenseFundfacebook.com/EnvDefenseFund