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Op Ed

Los Angeles Times

By Lisa Jackson
Administrator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

FULL ARTICLE

Excerpts:
Americans must once again stand up for their right to clean air and clean water. 

We can put Americans to work retrofitting outdated, dirty plants with updated pollution control technology. There are about 1,100 coal-fired units at about 500 power plants in this country. About half of these units are more than 40 years old, and about three-quarters of them are more than 30 years old. Of these 1,100 units, 44% do not use pollution controls such as scrubbers or catalysts to limit emissions, and they pour unlimited amounts of mercury, lead, arsenic and acid gases into our air. Despite requirements in the bipartisan 1990 Clean Air Act amendments, these facilities have largely refused to control their emissions — creating an uneven playing field for companies who play by the rules and gaming the system at the expense of our health.

By contrast, the nation's first-ever standards for mercury and other air toxic pollutants which the EPA will finalize this fall — and which the Republican leadership aims to block — are estimated to create 31,000 short-term construction jobs and 9,000 long-term jobs in the utility sector through modernizing power plants. And the savings in health benefits are estimated to be up to $140 billion per year by 2016.

Our environment affects red states and blue states alike. It is time for House Republicans to stop politicizing our air and water. Let's end "too dirty to fail."
(L.A. Times, 10/21/2011)