[Philadelphia, PA] On Friday, July 5th the Sierra Club was joined by Delaware Riverkeeper Network and the Clean Air Council in a press conference to declare support for clean water standards recently proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and currently open for public comment.
The standards governing water pollution from power plants have not been updated in 30 years even though, according to the EPA, more than half of all toxic water pollution in the country comes from coal-fired power plants, making coal plants the number one source of toxic water pollution in the U.S.
Pennsylvania has 28 active coal-fired power plants and only 8 have permits that limit dumping of toxic metals, while only 4 plants have permits that limit selenium, mercury, and lead.
“National safeguards to limit toxic water pollution are well overdue. These new standards will not only clean up our rivers and streams, but require polluters for the first time to report dumping so that communities will know what’s going into their water and be empowered to take action to clean it up,” said Robin Mann of the Sierra Club.
More than 23,000 miles of U.S. rivers and streams are being damaged by steam electric plant discharges, which include arsenic, mercury, lead, boron, cadmium, selenium, chromium, thallium, vanadium, bromides and more. For example, each year nearly 65,000 pounds of lead, 3,000 pounds of mercury, and 80,000 pounds of arsenic are discharged into surface waters like rivers, streams and lakes where kids play, families fish and communities get their drinking water.
"The effects on human health and the health of our rivers, including the Delaware River, are well known" said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper. "Limiting the amount of toxins in our water will save lives, prevent children from getting sick and ensure our water is safe to drink and fish are safe to eat."
“Clean water is as fundamental to life on this planet as clean air” said Joe Minott from the Clean Air Council. “All forms of coal power plant pollution must be addressed and we join with our colleagues in the Sierra Club and Delaware Riverkeepers in support of clean water, just as we will all combine our voices when the EPA publishes a rule on power plant carbon emissions, as called for by the President.”
Following the press conference, activists took to the streets with what they called a “living billboard” -- a series of posters that when joined together spelled out a clean water message on one side and formed a giant fish mosaic on the other. Volunteers handed out leaflets and collected supportive comments that will be sent to the EPA.
For More Information Contact:
Maya van Rossum, Delaware Riverkeeper Network
Joe Minott, Clean Air Council
Sandy Bauer's Post on "Green Space" blog at Philly.com; Groups support EPA rule for coal plant discharges.