Goal: Urge the EPA to impose stronger regulations on soot pollution.
Coal mining destroys our environment by stripping the land or removing mountaintops. When coal companies blast away tops of mountains to retrieve the mineral, waste rock is then left behind to pollute rivers and streams damaging the ecosystem and the appearance of the landscape. Rivers are also polluted because of abandoned coal mines that fill with water and mix with the heavy metals inside that eventually leak into groundwater and streams.
The burning of coal produces large amounts of soot, CO2, and toxic mercury. These particles contribute to climate change and have negative affects on our public health. Coal burning kills thousands of people each year by causing or worsening respiratory illnesses that trigger heart attacks and strokes. The exposure of toxic mercury to pregnant women, through consuming mercury infected fish, cause 60,000 babies to be born with neurological damage a year (National Academy of Science, 2000).
Soot pollution from coal burning plants affects humans and the environment long after it has been released into the air. Once particles have settled on the ground it can cause destruction of crops, soil nutrient depletion, and acidification of water.
Of course, the best way to change these problems is to support clean energy forms such as wind, hydro, solar, and geothermal power. But for now progress must be made by encouraging the EPA to amend the Clean Air Act and call for tighter regulations on airborne soot pollution. An annual standard of 11 micrograms per cubic meter of air and a daily standard of 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air, instead of their recently proposed 12 to 13 micrograms, will prevent many deaths and suffering that result from soot pollution produced by a variety of sources but especially coal burning plants.
The EPA is now taking public comments on their soot regulations. Stand up for public health and the environment by writing to the EPA’s administrator Lisa Jackson.
Dear Administrator Jackson,
Coal burning power plants affect our environment and public health. Coal is the dirtiest and most harmful form of energy. I am writing to you today to encourage stronger regulations on the amount of soot being released into the air by these coal fired power plants.
Exposure to soot pollution spewed from coal plants causes or worsens respiratory illnesses that can trigger heart attacks and strokes. Mercury released from the mining and burning of coal is dangerous especially for pregnant women, causing their babies to be born with neurological disorders.
The proposed standard of 12 to 13 micrograms of soot per cubic meter of air is not strong enough. That is why I urge you to tighten standards to 11 micrograms of soot per cubic meter of air and a daily standard of 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air that is scientifically proven to prevent many environmental and health problems that occur from the burning of coal.
Please give our future a fighting chance at breathing clean air and staying healthy.
[Your Name Here]
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