Carper Blasts EPA’s Decision to Weaken Mercury and Air Toxics Standards

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), released the following statement regarding reports that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent proposals to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) aimed at dismantling the 2012 Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), which have long received bipartisan support and have proven to be incredibly effective.

“As we have tragically seen in Flint, Michigan and in far too many other communities across the country, neurotoxins like mercury and lead affect human health and the environment in a way that is devastating and long-lasting. As a parent, I find it egregious that this administration is choosing to put our families at risk. As a lawmaker who has worked across the aisle for years to strengthen these standards, I find it absolutely nonsensical that President Trump’s EPA would weaken bipartisan and effective standards currently in place. Even worse, this EPA has gone so far as to say that it is no longer ‘appropriate and necessary’ to factor in all the clear benefits of this rule, including protecting our young children whose brains are still developing and are particularly vulnerable to these toxics. Here we have a rare instance where environmentalists, states, labor groups and coal utilities all agree that this life-saving environmental protection should stay in place. It remains my hope that cooler heads will prevail and that these proposals will not move forward.”

 Background on Senator Carper’s fight to limit mercury emissions:

  • Senator Carper in August introduced the Comprehensive National Mercury Monitoring Act, a bipartisan bill that would establish a national mercury monitoring network.
  • Senator Carper in August sent a letter to EPA requesting that EPA keep the MATS rule in place.
  • Senator Carper early last year questioned then-Attorney General Scott Pruitt last year about EPA’s commitment to regulate mercury. Pruitt replied that “Mercury under the Section 112 is something that EPA should deal with and regulate.”
  • Senator Carper early last year discussed Pruitt’s antagonism towards regulating mercury while he led the overnight floor debate on the confirmation vote for Scott Pruitt to lead EPA.
  • Senator Carper in November highlighted Assistant Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency for Air and Radiation Bill Wehrum’s opposition to regulating mercury from power plants.