(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Today, Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) joined Rep. Kathy Castor (FL-14) in sending a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler, calling on him to oppose any action that could undermine or weaken the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS).

The letter urges EPA Administrator Wheeler to withdraw EPA’s December 27, 2018 proposed finding that it is not “appropriate and necessary” to regulate mercury and hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions from coal and oil fired power plants because of the costs of doing so. It also emphasizes the critical need “to protect our children and families from dangerous mercury pollution.  Americans are breathing cleaner air and enjoy better health as a result of the safeguards in MATS.” 

“Plain and simple, mercury pollution poses a severe threat to public health, with even low levels of exposure causing life-long impacts,” U.S. Rep. Castor said on EPA’s decision to weaken MATS. “It is critical that EPA Administrator Wheeler not turn a blind eye to the health and well-being of American families by siding with corporate polluters over the health of families. Instead, he must stop this shortsighted decision and keep in place the protections that MATS provides to our neighbors and future generations of Americans.”

“As a pediatrician, I have seen firsthand the impacts of pollution on our children. The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) are already fully implemented and have shown to be life-saving, preventing more than 11,000 premature deaths every year. Pregnant women and children are especially vulnerable when they are exposed to heavy metals which impact the central nervous system with potentially devastating effects on development. There is no legitimate justification for this action by the EPA,” said U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier, M.D. (WA08), who joined U.S. Rep. Castor on the letter.

The letter went on to urge EPA to withdraw its proposal to revoke the “appropriate and necessary” finding and commit to adequately protecting the public from dangerous mercury and hazardous air pollution that threatens their health and welfare. 

You can read the letter here.