Greenpeace has released a new report naming the 15 members of Congress who the organization believes have undermined their voters' health by supporting pollutants that come predominantly from coal-fired power plants.
“Polluting Democracy: Coal Plays Dirty on the Hill,” names the congressional members who have tried to prevent the EPA from improving pollution standards for these plants. According to the report, all but one of these members of Congress are ranked in the top 25% of those receiving money from the fossil fuel industry.
The majority of the aging US coal fleet has not installed readily available technology that could reduce mercury pollution by 90%. Coal combustion is responsible for most US mercury pollution. Mercury contributes to thousands of deaths annually and may adversely affect the development of over 400,000 babies per year. Mercury exposure is a serious problem for the lungs, brain, heart, stomach, kidneys, and immune system. Much airborne mercury often falls back to the ground and waterways within only 100 or so miles of where it is emitted, but it is re-emitted into the air, floats down streams, and accumulates in animals that cannot digest it.
In March, the American Lung Association released a report on the health hazards surrounding coal-fired power plants. The report stated, “Particle pollution from power plants is estimated to kill approximately 13,000 people a year... Coal-fired power plants that sell electricity to the grid produce more hazardous air pollution in the U.S. than any other industrial pollution sources.”
Greenpeace Senior Legislative Representative Kyle Ash said, “The fifteen Representatives named in this report are acting against the interests of the communities that they represent, and the dirty money that they’re taking from the coal industry is taken at the expense of America’s health and safety. We must urge our representatives to let EPA do its job by protecting us from dangerous toxins produced by coal-fired power plants.”
Check out the "Dirty Money Team":