Toxic air pollution threatens our health

More than half of all Americans live in places with unsafe levels of air pollution, which causes heart attacks, asthma attacks, emergency room visits, hospital admissions and even deaths every year.

Studies show that one in ten women of childbearing age has enough mercury in her bloodstream to put her child at risk of health effects should she become pregnant. This means that more than 689,000 out of the 4.1 million babies born every year could be exposed to dangerous levels of mercury.

The consequences are serious: Children who are exposed to even low-dosage levels of mercury in the womb can have impaired brain functions, including verbal, attention, motor control and language deficits, and lower IQs.  When these children are monitored at ages 7 and 14, these impairments still exist — suggesting that the damage caused by mercury may be irreversible.

3,781 bodies of water contaminated nationwide

Coal-fired power plants spew hundreds of thousands of pounds of toxic mercury into our air every year, which falls to earth in the form of rain and contaminates rivers, lakes and streams.

And it doesn’t take much mercury to have a big impact on our health.  Scientists found that a single gram of mercury can contaminate an entire 20-acre lake.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, mercury impairs 3,781 bodies of water across the country. More than 6 million acres of lakes, reservoirs, and ponds in the United States are contaminated by mercury pollution.

Here in New York, the threat of mercury contamination led the Department of Health to recommend against eating fish caught in lakes, rivers and streams from the Mohawk River to Lake Ontario.

With your help, we can save 46,000 lives

Recently, the EPA moved ahead with efforts to significantly reduce mercury, soot and smog pollution, announcing historic new emissions standards that could save 46,000 lives a year. Unfortunately, polluters and their allies in Congress launched a coordinated attack to block these critical safeguards.

We’re working closely with our allies in the public health community, lobbying key senators, and rallying thousands of activists to stand up for public health.

It won’t be easy, but if enough of us speak out, we can drown out the coal industry lobbyists and make sure that the EPA is allowed to do its job and protect public health.


Clean Air Updates

News Release | Environment New York

Congratulations Gina McCarthy, Our New U.S. EPA Administrator

The U.S. Senate today confirmed Gina McCarthy as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand voted to confirm Ms. McCarthy. The confirmation came just weeks after President Obama instructed EPA to cut carbon pollution from power plants as part of his plan to fight global warming.

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News Release | Environment New York

President Obama’s Climate Plan a Clear Victory for New York, Future Generations

Today, President Obama announced a climate plan that will set limits on carbon pollution from power plants, advance energy efficiency and increase the nation’s commitment to renewable energy.

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News Release | En

Pres. Obama to Unveil Plan to Address Climate Change

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, record drought in many states, and wildfires in Colorado, Pres. Obama has announced he will unveil a climate action plan on Tuesday designed to cut the carbon pollution fueling global warming and advance clean energy solutions.

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News Release | Environment New York

Advocates: Will NY Lawmakers Drop the Ball on Solar Again?

With the end of the legislative session approaching, advocates worry that a solar bill with widespread public and stakeholder support could fail to cross the finish line. The bill; which would extend the successful NY Sun program for 10 years and provide over $150 million annually to solar projects across the state, is supported by Governor Cuomo and was passed overwhelmingly the Senate on Earth Day.

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News Release | Environment New York

Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand Urge Pres. Obama to Cut Carbon Pollution from Power Plants

U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand sent a letter to President Obama today, describing the devastation that Hurricane Sandy caused in New York, to urge him to set limits on carbon pollution from power plants. Scientists have warned that global warming is helping to intensify extreme weather events, and power plants are the largest source of the carbon pollution that’s fueling global warming. The letter, which was also signed by senators from Connecticut and New Jersey, was loudly applauded by Environment New York and others.

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