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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

July 6, 2010

David Graham-Caso
213.387.6528 x214

EPA Transport Rule Would Save as Many as 36,000 Lives Each Year
Sierra Club Applauds EPA Action to Protect People from Dangerous Coal Pollution

(Washington, D.C.) – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed a rule that would set stronger emissions standards for the dangerous air pollution emitted from coal-fired power plants in the eastern United States.  The rule, known as the Transport Rule, would have health benefits for millions of Americans and would prevent between 14,000 and 36,000 premature deaths annually, according to an EPA analysis.  The Transport Rule proposed today would replace the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), which had been struck down by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 2008.  The Sierra Club issued the following statement in response to the release of the proposed Transport Rule.

Statement of Bruce Nilles, Deputy Conservation Director, Sierra Club

“Today’s announcement is a positive step forward for people who want clean air.  The proposed new Clean Air Transport Rule will save lives by reducing the amount of dangerous pollution emitted by coal-fired power plants.  While a thorough review and comment period remains to be completed, the Sierra Club is pleased to see this progress made.

“The harmful pollution coal-fired power plants emit into the air does not just endanger people in the immediate vicinity of the plant.  Pollution from coal plants is carried downwind, endangering people throughout the entire eastern United States.  This rule addresses the reality that dangerous pollution doesn’t recognize state borders.  Just as the oil gusher has now hit every Gulf state, the pollution from coal-fired power plants drifts downwind into people’s lungs throughout a region. 

“The pollutants covered by this rule are precursors to ozone, which is incredibly dangerous to human health.  Pollutants like ozone and particulate matter (better known as smog and soot) from coal-fired pollution have been found to cause respiratory illness (including asthma and bronchitis), as well as aggravation of existing cardiovascular disease.  It is absolutely essential that the EPA do everything in its power to limit the damage these pollutants do to millions of people throughout the United States.

“The statistics published with the rule make a very compelling case..  According to the EPA, the Transport Rule would yield up to $290 billion in annual health benefits, ‘including avoiding an estimated 14,000 to 36,000 premature deaths, 23,000 nonfatal heart attacks, 21,000 cases of acute bronchitis, 240,000 cases of aggravated asthma, and 1.9 million days when people miss school or work due to ozone- and particle pollution-related symptoms.’

“The Sierra Club applauds the EPA for taking this step to clean up the air. We will stay engaged throughout this process to ensure people’s health and welfare are protected.”

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About the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign
The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign is a national effort that aims to move our economy toward a clean energy future by stopping new polluting coal-fired plants, phasing out existing plants, and keeping U.S. coal reserves in the ground and out of international markets.  Thanks in part to the work of the Beyond Coal Campaign, plans for 128 new coal plants have been shelved since the beginning of the coal rush, keeping more than 530 million tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and encouraging America to follow the path to a new clean energy economy.

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