WASHINGTON, DC Today the Environmental Protection Agency released new coal plant water pollution standards -- also known as steam electric effluent limitation guidelines -- that, when finalized, will limit the amounts and types of toxic metals that can be dumped into our waterways.
According to the EPA, more than half of all toxic water pollution in the country comes from coal-fired power plants, making coal plants the number one source of toxic water pollution in the U.S. Currently 4 out of 5 coal plants in the country have no limits on the amount of toxic heavy metals they can dump into our waterways.
In response, Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, released the following statement:
“Every year, hundreds of coal plants across the country dump millions of tons of toxic metals like arsenic, lead, selenium and mercury into our waterways. This dangerous cocktail of chemicals from coal plants is dumped into rivers and streams, polluting our drinking water, our fishing grounds, and our swimming areas. Exposure to these toxics can lead to birth defects, cancer and even death.
“The Environmental Protection Agency has taken a crucial step toward putting an end to the coal industry’s dumping of toxic waste, by releasing the first national standards limiting coal plant water pollution. Strong standards from the Environmental Protection Agency will save lives, prevent children from getting sick, and ensure our water is safe to drink and our fish safe to eat. We applaud President Obama and the EPA for moving forward with these critical safeguards, and we will work to ensure these standards are not weakened by baseless industry attacks.”