A new report says the EPA must protect drinking water and downstream communities from power plant pollution, but a critic says it’s just “scaremongering.”
The report, “Selling Our Health Down The River,” comes from EarthJustice.org, although representatives from Sierra Club, Clean Water Action and Physicians for Social Responsibility contributed. The authors say power plants discharge more than 5.5 billion pounds of pollutants into U.S. waterways every year, contributing to the contamination of more than 23,000 miles of rivers and 185 water bodies whose fish are too toxic to eat. As a result, the authors call on Environmental Protection Agency to finalize a rule to stop water pollution from power plants.
Dr. Tom Borelli, a senior fellow with FreedomWorks, responds to the report. He points out the EPA is already protecting America’s waterways and air, the result being that both have become significantly cleaner over the past decade.
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“So you have to review these sorts of reports by the source,” he suggests, “and EarthJustice is one of the radical environmental organizations that essentially wants to ban the use of coal in America. These groups always throw around scary chemical terms, trying to frighten citizens for more and more regulation.”
The authors of the report also present what they describe as “evidence that EPA has been under-estimating the public health benefits of controlling metals including arsenic and hexavalent chromium (which can increase the risk of cancer), as well as lead and mercury (which can cause brain damage) released by power plants into rivers, streams, and lakes.”
Borelli believes the nation has to “strike the balance” between pollution and low-cost, dependable energy – coal being one of those forms.
“This is nothing more from my view than scaremongering – trying to scare people and just before the summer hits,” he tells OneNewsNow. “Again, we have to also keep in mind the cost. A study just came out [saying] the economic cost of households, right now, almost half of American households spend 17 percent of their budget on energy.”
Housing was another big expenditure for Americans.
“So, again,” Borelli cautions, “we have to get the right balance between protecting the environment, what we all want – [but] we also want cheap and reliable energy.”