Carper: EPA’s Plan to Abandon Rule to Regulate Mercury From Power Plants Puts Americans’ Health at Risk

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, issued the following statement regarding reports that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will reconsider its rationale on a rule set to limit toxic power plant air pollution, including mercury — a potent neurotoxin of significant ecological and public health concern, especially for children and pregnant women. Just yesterday, Senators Carper and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced legislation that would establish a national mercury monitoring network to protect human health, safeguard fisheries, and track the environmental effects of emissions reductions. And last week, Senators Carper and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) sent a letter asking EPA not to touch this rule.

“At every turn, the Trump administration is working to gut environmental protections put in place to protect the health of Delawareans and families across the country. But today’s announcement out of the EPA to abandon restrictions on power plant emissions of air toxics and mercury — a neurotoxin that poses serious threats to the development of newborns’ brains — is particularly egregious, even by Trump standards. As I made very clear to EPA just last week, the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) Rule is currently surpassing expectations, and changing it now not only doesn’t make sense, but is irresponsible. I warned this administration not to touch this rule that has the support of environmental groups, health organizations, states, industry and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers. It’s why I fought like hell to protect the rule when EPA issued it in 2012, and it’s why I’ll keep fighting the agency’s foolish decision to abandon it.”

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


  • 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.
  • Senator Carper last week sent a letter to EPA requesting that EPA keep the MATS rule in place.
  • Senator Carper this week introduced the Comprehensive National Mercury Monitoring Act, a bipartisan bill that would establish a national mercury monitoring network.