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New EPA Rules A Win-Win For New Jersey [AUDIO]

Flickr User Stan Sorochan

New Jersey already does it, but now power plants across the nation have been ordered by the President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce their mercury emissions by 91 percent. It’s the first-ever nationwide standard for mercury and air pollution.

“This is a huge win for New Jersey. President Obama stood up to polluters and protected the health of our children,” said Doug O’Malley, Field Director with Environment New Jersey.

Power plants are the largest single source of mercury pollution in the United States and exposure is linked to cancer, heart disease, neurological damage, birth defects, asthma attacks and premature death. One in ten American women of childbearing age has enough mercury in her blood to put her baby at risk, should she become pregnant. “The hope is that as state’s like Pennsylvania and Ohio reduce their mercury pollution, we’ll actually be able to have waterways that aren’t polluted with mercury,” said O’Malley.

“New Jersey has been using pollution controls for years,” said O’Malley. “But our neighbors have not. In fact, Pennsylvania is one of the worst offenders. New Jersey puts out 88 pounds of mercury pollution from its power plants. Pennsylvania puts out 3,964 pounds.”

By limiting emissions of mercury and air toxins from power plants, the new standard is expected to prevent 130,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms and save 11,000 lives every year.

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