Statement from EDF General Counsel Vickie Patton on limited deadline extension for power plant pollution standards

October 21, 2011

Amanda Warner, (202) 572-3247,
Vicki Patton, (303) 447-7215,

Today the Environmental Defense Fund agreed to a 30-day extension of the deadline for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to issue clean air standards for the toxic air contaminants discharged from power plant smokestacks across our nation. EDF stipulated to this limited extension of time for a single reason: to ensure EPA can finalize the most protective and durable limits on the toxic air pollution from coal plants.

The 1,200 coal-fired units are collectively responsible for the largest volume of hazardous air pollutants discharged in our communities. They emit over half of the mercury and arsenic, and are a major source of acid gases. However, a suite of affordable, made-in-America technologies is readily available to address these dangerous air pollutants.

While some power companies are leading the way in transitioning to a modern energy infrastructure, others are vigorously fighting clean air progress. It is unfortunate- indeed outrageous- that the forces that oppose healthier, safer air for America’s families and neighborhoods will unleash a barrage a legal attacks to derail these vital clean air protections.

Today, we call on the power companies leading the attacks on safer air for our families to stop: stop investing in endless litigation, stop investing in obstructionism, and stop the rhetoric of division and polarization. And instead begin investing in innovation and cleaner air for America.

We urge EPA to use this brief time extension wisely: to adopt the most protective clean air standards for the most toxic pollutants and to prepare effectively for those who seek to derail a stronger, healthier and more prosperous America.

Environmental Defense Fund (, a leading national nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Visit us on Twitter @EnvDefenseFund and