"These standards are 22 years in making. They are what the American people deserve after waiting so long. My belief is that if we started hiring engineers instead of lobbyists and . . . scientists instead of lawyers, we would be able to do our job for the American people." -- EPA Administrator Lisa JacksonRepublicans deny any benefit for babies and pregnant women from reducing mercury levels, President Obama's EPA issued the first ever national standards to cut mercury emissions from coal-fired and oil-fired power plants. As EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said, "By cutting emissions that are linked to developmental disorders and respiratory illnesses like asthma, these standards represent a major victory for clean air and public health."
David Roberts explains why the new rules are such a "bona fide big deal"
Finally controlling mercury and toxics will be an advance on par with getting lead out of gasoline. It will save tens of thousands of lives every year and prevent birth defects, learning disabilities, and respiratory diseases. It will make America a more decent, just, and humane place to live. […]
[T]his is an historic day and a real step forward for the forces of civilization. It’s the beginning of the end of one of the last of the old-school, 20th-century air pollution problems…. Long after everyone has forgotten who “won the morning” in the fight over these rules, or what effect they had on Obama’s electoral chances, the rule’s legacy will live on in a healthier, happier American people.