Sen. Tom Carper issued a statement Dec. 28 after the Environmental Protection Agency announced that is rolling back critical protections by asserting that it is no longer “appropriate and necessary” to regulate mercury and toxic air pollution from coal and oil-fired plants under the Mercury Air Toxics Standards.

“Once again, the Trump administration is acting in a way that will adversely affect the health and safety of those living from coast to coast. The Trump EPA has decided — despite the recommendations of scientists, public health experts and elected officials on both sides of the aisle — that it is no longer ‘appropriate and necessary’ to protect the development of infants’ brains from the serious threats posed by mercury power plant pollution,” said Carper.

“By releasing this proposal today, Acting Administrator Wheeler can only be attempting to rush an egregious policy before EPA staff are furloughed that is not only wildly unpopular but also rolls back years of critical protections that keep toxic emissions out of the air we all breathe. With this action, EPA is also setting a dangerous precedent that a federal agency — charged with protecting the environment and public health — will no longer factor in all the clear health, environmental and economics benefits of clean air policies, such as reducing cancer and birth defects. Since the Mercury and Air Toxics Rule was issued in 2012, both electric prices and mercury pollution have gone down. With this proposal, EPA has decided to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and all Americans will suffer as a result,” said Carper.