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Polluters get their wish

To the Editor:

Rhode Islanders have waited more than two decades for EPA to require polluters to clean up mercury, arsenic and other air toxics. Unfortunately, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it will delay the public comment period deadline for its proposed Mercury and Air Toxics Standard for power plants by 30 days.

In March, EPA finally proposed a strong rule, which it estimates would cut mercury and other toxic air pollution by 91 percent, saving up to 17,000 lives each year and preventing 120,000 asthma attacks annually.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have already told EPA they want the strongest possible air toxics standards. Only the power plants creating the pollution are fighting tooth and nail for delay. This week, these polluters succeeded yet again.

It is past time for the coal industry to stop poisoning our kids and start cleaning up the hundreds of thousands of pounds of toxic pollution they spew into our air every year. The EPA must staunch the flood of toxic air and meet its Nov. 16, 2011 deadline for issuing a strong final standard, or every day of delay will mean more deaths and more children at risk.

Elizabeth Brashares

Environment Rhode Island

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