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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) delivered remarks from the Senate floor about the urgent need to address the limited data on the linkages between mercury emissions and environmental response and human health. Yesterday, Senators Collins and Tom Carper (D-DE) introduced the Comprehensive National Mercury Monitoring Act, a bipartisan bill that would establish a national mercury monitoring network to protect human health, safeguard fisheries, and track the environmental effects of emissions reductions.
“Mercury is a potent neurotoxin of significant ecological and public health concern, especially for children and pregnant women. It is estimated that approximately 200,000 children born in our country each year have been exposed to levels of mercury in the womb that are high enough to impair their neurological development,” said Senator Collins in her remarks from the Senate floor. “A comprehensive national mercury monitoring network is needed to protect human health, safeguard our fisheries, and track the effect of emissions reductions. This tracking is important in light of increasing mercury emissions from other countries, including a substantial amount of mercury emissions from China. Mercury can be transported around the globe, meaning emissions and releases can affect human health and environment even in remote locations.”
“This network is particularly important after the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent proposal on the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards,” Senator Collins continued. “Last month, the EPA released a proposal that determined it is no longer ‘appropriate and necessary’ to regulate mercury and toxic air pollution from coal- and oil-fired plants. I just do not understand why EPA would send that signal. While the EPA has not proposed to change the current emissions standards on mercury and the toxic air pollutants in this regulation, the EPA’s action has put the standards in legal jeopardy and could block future efforts to strengthen this standard that is so important to protecting human health and our environment.”
Senator Collins’ full remarks can be read HERE.