80th Annual Meeting

WHEREAS, mayors recognize that mercury pollution, the majority of it coming from coal-fired power plants, represents a particularly widespread threat to families nationwide; and

WHEREAS, in 1990, 3 industry sectors made up 2/3 of the total mercury emissions in the nation including Medical Waste Incinerators, Municipal Waste Combustors (Waste-to-Energy); and Power Plants; and

WHEREAS, The first two sectors have already had to comply with mercury and air toxics rules and have reduced their mercury emission by 95%; and

WHEREAS, the technology to retrofit these facilities already exists and is being utilized in the other two industries; and

WHEREAS, because of local mercury contamination, all 50 states have fish consumption advisories in place to warn residents of the potential health effects of eating fish caught from area waters; and

WHEREAS, mercury poses a particular threat to vulnerable populations such as pregnant women and small children; and

WHEREAS, mercury is a potent neurotoxin that affects a developing child’s ability to talk, walk, read and write, and in addition to learning disabilities, in utero exposure can result in severe birth defects such as blindness, deafness and cerebral palsy; and

WHEREAS, EPA's analysis projects that the annual cost to the regulated industry for the year 2016 (the first year in which EPA expects the standards to be fully implemented), would be $9.6 billion and the aggregate benefits for that year would be between $37-$90 billion; and

WHEREAS, for every dollar spent to reduce this pollution, Americans get 3-9 dollars in health benefits; and

WHEREAS, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) projects that the new Clean Air Act protections from reduced mercury and air toxics will save citizens as much as $90 billion annually when fully implemented through lower health care costs. Each year, this translates into as many as 11,000 lives saved, 4,700 heart attacks and 130,000 asthma attacks prevented, and 5,700 hospital visits avoided; and

WHEREAS, The benefits are widely distributed and are especially important to minority and low income populations who are disproportionately impacted by asthma and other debilitating health conditions; and

WHEREAS, clean, healthy air and water are fundamental American rights,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the U.S. Conference of Mayors strongly supports the EPA’s issued Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for Power Plants (MATS).