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Vermont Supports Clean Air Act Rule Reducing Toxic Air Pollution From Power Plants

CONTACT: Thea Schwartz, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-3186

March 16, 2012

Vermont, eleven other states, New York City, and the District of Columbia filed a motion to intervene in federal court today in support of a Clean Air Act rule that will protect Vermonters by reducing toxic air pollution from coal and oil-fired power plants. The federal Environmental Protection Agency recently adopted the rule, known as the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, to curb power plant emissions of mercury and other toxic air pollutants, such as arsenic, cyanide, nickel and selenium, that are known to cause cancer, respiratory illness, and other serious health effects. "Mercury is a powerful neurotoxin that can affect children's brain development. Emissions of mercury and other air toxics travel from out-of-state power plants to Vermont and contaminate our air, soil, water, and fish," said Attorney General William H. Sorrell. "This rule will improve the health of Vermonters and our environment," Attorney General Sorrell added. EPA estimates that the rule will provide Vermont up to $83 million in health benefits in 2016.

Some business and industry groups challenged the EPA rule in the Federal Circuit Court for the District of Columbia. Vermont is joined in the motion to support the rule by Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, New York City, and the District of Columbia.

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