Senators Bingaman and Udall Stand Up for New Mexicans’ Health, Help Senate Reject Rollback of Mercury Standards

For Immediate Release

Albuquerque, NM– In a victory for New Mexicans’ health and environment, the U.S. Senate today rejected a bill which would have allowed power plants to continue spewing toxic mercury pollution into our air. The bill, S.J. Res. 37 introduced by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), would have put up to 11,000 American lives at risk every year. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall both voted against this dangerous proposal.

“Today, Senators Bingaman and Udall stood up for New Mexicans’ health and our environment by rejecting this reckless attempt to allow more toxic mercury pollution in our air,” said Sam Feigenbaum, organizer for Environment New Mexico.

The legislation that was defeated sought to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recently finalized Mercury and Air Toxics Standard, which requires power plants to reduce their mercury pollution by 90 percent—the first-ever nationwide standard for mercury pollution from power plants, despite power plants being the largest single source of mercury pollution.

In 2010 New Mexico power plants emitted 489 pounds of toxic mercury into our air. This mercury pollution threatens our air, water and health; in fact, just one gram of mercury is enough to make the fish in a 25-acre lake unsafe to eat.