Mayors of more than 90 U.S. cities have signed a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson voicing their support for the recent EPA Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for Power Plants (MATS).

The letter, signed by mayors from all parts of the country, says in part: "Mayors are on the front lines of protecting public health and this long overdue safeguard will reap tremendous benefits for our communities."

Among the larger cities whose mayors signed the letter are New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Phoenix, Denver, and Chicago.

The mayors say, "Mercury pollution, much of it coming from coal-fired power plants, represents a particularly widespread threat to families nationwide. According to your agency’s own analysis, as of 2010, all 50 states have fish consumption advisories in place to warn residents of the potential health effects of eating fish caught from local waters. Of these advisories, 81% were issued in part because of mercury pollution accumulated within the aquatic food chain."

The letter was released as the Senate considers a vote on a bill sponsored by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) that would overturn MATS.

Just over a week earlier, the nation’s mayors were not as supportive of the EPA when they asked the agency to back off enforcement of regulations related to cleaning up drinking water. A panel discussion hosted by the nonpartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors on May 31 discussed "the urgent need for regulatory reform as aggressive unfunded water mandates are guided by outdated regulatory approaches and collide with the ability of cities and their rate payers to pay for them."

"We’ve been dealing with this for four presidents," Tom Cochran, CEO of the Conference of Mayors, said at a May 31 press conference.

Source: POWERnews, U.S. Conference of Mayors, Bloomberg, The Hill

—Dr. Gail Reitenbach,
POWER managing editor (@POWERmagazine)