Friday, May 20, 2011

The Menace of Mercury -- Tell Congress To Fix It, i.e. TAKE ACTION!

TAKE ACTION: The Menace of Mercury -- Tell Congress To Fix It



Dear Friend,

We've got a mercury problem, and we need your help.

I just wrote my senator. You should too.

For years, cement manufacturers have emitted tons of toxic mercury into our environment, where it pollutes our waters and the fish that swim in them, accumulates in our food and ultimately threatens young and unborn children with brain damage, birth defects and learning disabilities.

Thanks to public outrage over this unacceptable health threat -- including your emails and phone calls -- the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last August released long-delayed health protections that will cut mercury pollution by 92 percent. This sweeping change to protect public health would not have happened without your involvement!

But the mercury problem isn't one the cement industry wants solved. Their well paid lobbyists are pushing hard in Congress to have these health protections overturned entirely.

If they succeed, cement plants' mercury pollution will continue unabated. Worse yet, thousands of people will die unnecessarily every year.

Cement plants emit vast quantities of fine particle pollution, a major cause of premature death. The EPA's health protections will cut this particle pollution by 92 percent, a reduction that will save the lives of as many as 2,500 Americans every year and reduce heart attacks, hospitalizations and lost days at work.

The value of these health benefits will be as much as $18 billion each year -- about $20 in health benefits for every $1 the rule will cost the cement industry.

The cement industry didn't elect our members of Congress. We did. Tell your representatives in Washington, D.C. to support public health and your right to breathe clean air by rejecting the cement industry's attempts to rob the public of these life-saving protections.

Take action today!

Kevin Stoda and EARTH JUSTICE

P.S. Mercury pollution in the United States is a serious problem. But it's one that you can help solve.

Last August, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued health protections that will cut mercury emissions by 92 percent from one of the nation's worst mercury polluters: cement plants. For years, these dirty facilities have released tons of mercury into our environment, where it builds up to toxic levels in the fish that we eat and threatens young and unborn children with serious health problems, including brain damage, birth defects and learning disabilities.

I urge you to reject any attempt to block these critical health protections from taking effect. Reductions in industrial mercury pollution have been required by the Clean Air Act for more than 20 years, but cement plants haven't faced these reasonable limits to protect our health until now. It's time for this dirty industry to clean up. You can help ensure that happens.

If it doesn't, lives will be lost. In addition to mercury, cement plants emit large amounts of fine particle pollution, a major cause of premature death. Blocking the EPA's health protections will thus lead to unnecessary death and suffering in our communities. The EPA estimates that reducing fine particle pollution from cement plants will save up to 2,500 lives every year and prevent heart attacks, hospitalizations and more than one hundred thousand days of lost work.

The health benefits to the American public from these protections are worth as much as $18 billion every year -- around $20 in benefits for every $1 that the cement industry will spend reducing its pollution. Pollution control technology is affordable to industry and available today. In fact, some plants are already installing it.

You can help reduce mercury pollution and save the lives of thousands of people every year. Support the EPA's efforts to clean up the cement industry. Your constituents are counting on you.

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