Stefanik opposing weakening of mercury, toxic substances rules
Saturday, January 11, 2020 - 6:36 pm

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik recently sent a letter to House leadership and House appropriations leadership with six of her colleagues expressing opposition to the administration’s proposed weakening of the rules regarding mercury and airborne toxic substances.

This comes as appropriators continue to negotiate a final spending package for Fiscal Year 2020, under the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations.

The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule was issued by the EPA in 2011 and limits the amount of mercury and other toxic air pollutants emitted by power plants.

“Unfortunately, portions of the North Country, including the forested regions in the Adirondacks and Catskills, suffer from ecological damage and health problems associated with acid rain and acid deposition,” said Stefanik.

“The MATS rule has been successful and effective in lowering mercury emissions and the resulting acid rain. I am opposed to the proposed weakening of the MATS rule, which would threaten environmental progress made in our region. I’m grateful to have the support of The Environmental Defense Fund, Adirondack Council, and Adirondack Mountain Club in my advocacy against this misguided proposition.”

“The Adirondack Council commends the Representatives for continuing to press against the Administration's rollbacks of the final mercury and air toxics standards for coal-fired power plants (MATS) and the reduction in its pollution co-benefits,” said William C. Janeway, Executive Director of the Adirondack Council, which has been a national leader in the fight against acid rain since 1975. 

“The Adirondacks and northern New England’s forests are already under severe stress as a result of the unfinished business of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments.  The further damaging effects of a MATS rollback will need to be documented and repaired as soon as possible." 

“The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) strongly opposes efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency and some in Congress to legally weaken the enforceability of the Mercury Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule by removing the legal conclusion that it is both “appropriate and necessary” to enforce the MATS rule regulating and reducing elemental mercury emissions from the flue gas releases of coal burning power plants,” said Neil F. Woodworth, Chief Executive Officer and Counsel of the Adirondack Mountain Club.

“ADK sees no legal benefit and potential enforceability issues if the key “appropriate and necessary” finding is stricken from the MATS. This language has resulted in an estimated 90% reduction in airborne mercury smokestack mercury emissions with great benefits to human and ecosystem health. ADK strongly opposes any modification of the current MATS rule by striking the “appropriate and necessary” findings and conclusions of EPA.”