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Sen. Inhofe is Looking to Stop the EPA’s Power Plant Mercury Rule

coal power plantSen. James Inhofe (R. Okla.) announced on a webcast hosted by the conservative group, FreedomWorks, earlier this week that he plans to kill the EPA’s new mercury emissions rule for power plants. The resolution, S.J. Res. 37, can be brought to the Senate floor by Sen.Inhofe at any point.

The rule that Sen. Inhofe wants to kill is estimated to save 11,000 lives, prevent 130,000 asthma attacks and avoid 4,700 heart attacks. It would also have economic benefits of up to $90 billion per year. But Sen. Inhofe believes the plan is to kill coal which he says “runs this machine called America.”

However, coal now only makes up 36% of our energy, down from 44.6% just a year earlier. Coal is a fossil fuel which we are running out of and the coal that is left is getting harder and more dangerous to get. And while coal does provide some jobs what has really hurt the number of coal mining jobs is the coal industry itself.


“Historically in the U.S. the prevalent method of coal acquisition was underground mining, a process that is very labor-intensive. Through the use of explosives and large machinery, MTR (Mountaintop Removal) mining can extract more than two and a half times as much coal per worker per hour than in traditional underground mines, thus greatly reducing the number of workers needed. The industry lost approximately 10,000 jobs from 1990 to 1997, as MTR and other more mechanized mining methods became more widely used.”- read more

And Sen. Inhofe did admit that mercury is a “real pollutant” and that the Clean Air Act has been good,

“If you look at the Clean Air regulations they were good. They worked. If you look back to the Bush administration we had the clear skies act that they refused to act on that would have done away with SO2, NOx, mercury, real pollutants.”

However, he still feels this rule is not a good thing. And while his resolution is not expected to pass, it’s important that all that are concerned about clean air reach out to Sen. Inhofe and let him know. Jobs are very important but so is our health. Clean energy creates jobs as well, so let’s tell Sen. Inhofe that those are the jobs we want, along with cleaner air.

How do you feel about Sen. Inhofe’s position on the EPA”s mercury rule? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook.

Photo credit: Rennett Stowe


About the Author


Lisa Sharp is passionate about green living, organic food, animals, and natural medicine. She is an environmental activist, green living expert, and freelance writer. In addition to being the founder and editor of Green Oklahoma, Lisa has a green living blog, Retro Housewife Goes Green. You can follow Lisa on twitter @Retrohousewife5 and Facebook.

 

 


House Passes Rep. John Sullivan’s TRAIN Act

Rep. John Sullivan, an Oklahoma congressman, introduced and was able to pass, H.R. 2401, the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act of 2011, which he says will save jobs. The bill is being called, by those that appose it, the ‘Train Wreck Act’, it takes aim at the EPA and the Clear Air Act.

The bill will indefinitely delay two clear air standards- the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard and the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. These standards help reduce pollution such as; mercury, dioxins, and acid gases, from power plants. Environmental groups say delaying these standards will do great harm to American’s health.

“Every year these important safeguards are delayed, Americans will suffer up to 25,300 premature deaths due to toxic air pollution–and once again, they could be delayed indefinitely. Delaying the standards will also cause tens of thousands more heart attacks, asthma attacks and hospital stays,” says the Environmental Defense Action Fund.


Supporters of the bill say it will help the economy but the EPA recently estimated that cutting pollution through the Clear Air Act will save around $2 trillion between 1990 and 2020.

Just yesterday Republican Rep. Rob Bishop took to the floor of the House to defend the TRAIN Act but much of what he said was untrue. Rep. Bishop said that it was just a “study bill” and that it “doesn’t stop [any] rulemaking, doesn’t stop any rule.” The Natural Defense Council was quick to correct this misrepresentation of the bill.

“This is untrue. Section 5 of the bill, entitled “Regulatory Deferral of Certain Rules,” repeals the already adopted cross-state smog and soot standards for power plants. It further prohibits final adoption of the mercury and air toxics standards for power plants, due by court order this November.

The bill imposes a minimum period of delay to the smog and soot standards, and mercury and air toxics standards, of 19 and 15 months, respectively. This allows up to 33,450 premature deaths that these standards otherwise would prevent during this period.

The TRAIN Act then eliminates any actual deadlines for EPA to re-issue health standards, allowing these life-saving standards to be blocked indefinitely.” – read more

Supporters of the bill want us to believe we must choose between clean air and jobs but this is not the case. We can have both and we must have both. America can lead the world in a cleaner and healthy future. Please contact your senator today and tell them to vote no on the TRAIN Act and to support clean air.


About the Author


Lisa Sharp is passionate about green living, organic food, animals, and natural medicine. She is an environmental activist, green living expert, and consultant. In addition to being the founder and editor of Green Oklahoma, Lisa has a green living blog, Retro Housewife Goes Green. You can follow Lisa on twitter @Retrohousewife5 and Facebook.


 

Photo Credit: roy.luck