Thursday, August 5, 2021


Another state is gearing up to map out new congressional districts, and Nevada and California cope with massive wildfires.


Capitol police officers who defended Congress on January 6 will receive the Congressional Gold Medal, the Senate examines the threat of domestic terrorism, and a champion of worker's rights passes away.

EPA Chips Away at Mercury Rule; Critics Say Communities of Color at Risk


Tuesday, April 21, 2020   

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that 2016 air-pollution controls placed on mercury emitted from coal-fired power plants are "neither appropriate nor necessary," citing the cost of compliance.

For now, the regulations will remain in place, but critics say the agency is ignoring the science pointing to mercury as a potent neurotoxin with a host of negative effects on human health.

Harvard University professor in the Kennedy School of Government Joe Aldy said there are deep flaws in the EPA's recent analysis of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, known as "MATS." He said the agency isn't acknowledging the reductions in fine particulate matter that have occurred alongside reductions in mercury pollution.

"When EPA first issued the rule, it explained in a 2011 analysis that the benefits of reducing particulate matter pollution, and thus causing fewer premature mortalities, cases of severe asthma and other respiratory conditions, would be valued in the tens of billions of dollars per year," Aldy said. "This EPA zeroed these out."

A study published in 2017 found that between 2006 and 2016, mercury emissions from U.S. coal-fired power plants shrank by 85%.

Dominique Browning, director of the group Moms Clean Air Force, pointed out that if MATS regulations aren't in place, the health burden will fall disproportionately on pregnant women, low-income communities and communities of color, who are more likely to live near industrial power plants.

"Nearly 2 in 5 Latinx live within 30 miles of a power plant, and 68% of African-Americans live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant," Browning said.

Several research studies also have linked pregnant women's exposure to air pollution - including mercury, vehicle exhaust, lead and other sources of outdoor air pollution - to an increased risk of babies being born with autism.

Reporting by North Carolina News Connection in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded in part by the Park Foundation

get more stories like this via email

In the United States, home-care workers, mostly women and people of color, earn on average only $12 an hour. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Advocates for people with disabilities in New York are pushing for the federal budget resolution to include $400 billion in Medicaid …

Social Issues

BUFFALO, Wyo. -- The doors of five historic community halls across Johnson and Sheridan counties were opened this past weekend for 15 people curious …


RALEIGH, N.C. -- Massive wildfires in the Western U.S. and Canada have triggered poor air quality in North Carolina over the past few weeks, and …

Washington state farmworker Honesto Silva Ibarra died in hot conditions in 2017. (Edgar Franks)


OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Farmworkers are in Olympia today, calling for stronger protections from extreme heat. The farmworkers union Familias Unidas por la …


BOISE, Idaho -- Rallies are taking place across the Northwest to support salmon, which face dire conditions in the Columbia River Basin. Saturday…

If approved, WEC Energy Group says its proposed gas storage facilities for southeastern Wisconsin could be operational by late 2023. (Adobe Stock)


IXONIA, Wis. -- The public comment period has ended, but opponents of proposed natural gas storage facilities in southeastern Wisconsin still hope to …


HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Pennsylvanians are growing worried about the environmental consequences of natural-gas drilling in the state, according to a new …

Social Issues

DES MOINES, Iowa -- When Iowans register to vote or cast their ballot, the forms are usually just in English. A civil rights group argued the state …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021