Thursday, February 7, 2019

Defend Our Future Student Leaders, Elected Officials In Philadelphia Push For Continued Reduction Of Mercury Pollution, Oppose Federal Rollback

On February 7, Philadelphia City Council members Blondell Reynolds Brown, Derek Green, Helen Gym, and State Rep Malcolm Kenyatta join Defend Our Future’s student leaders in opposition to the proposed federal rollbacks of Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) at a press conference in City Hall ahead of a successful vote on a City Council resolution in support of the environmental and public health safeguards.
The event, hosted by City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and Defend Our Future Pennsylvania State Director Colin Pepper, highlighted the critical importance the endangered standards are to the public health, safety and economy of Pennsylvania and the nation.
Held in City Hall prior to a Council vote unanimously adopting a resolution opposing the rollbacks that has overwhelming co-sponsorship support, the day was also marked by the  submission of the proposed federal rollbacks to the Federal Register for publication.
Student speaker, Anya Tewari spoke to the impact the standards in states like Pennsylvania would have on his home state of New Jersey, “You would think that being from New Jersey, the armpit of the nation, would be bad enough, but in New Jersey a substantial amount of our air pollution comes from coal burning states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.”
Councilman Derek Green spoke to the broad support for the standards as they are in place., “numerous entities from labor unions, power companies and other organizations have all told the Trump Administration, do not make these changes. So from corporate America, labor, citizens and young people are  part of this coalition are all calling on the Trump Administration to not make these changes”
State Rep Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia) expressed his disappointment in the Trump administration, “it’s not a surprise but heartbreaking that Trump is rolling back with important environmental standards standard that are going to make our environment less safe. In every cabinet position, he’s installed a fox who’s supposed to be trusted to guard the hen house. This corrupt administration is a disgrace.”
Mercury pollution, which puts children, pregnant women, and frontline communities most at risk, has been linked to organ damage and developmental complications in newborns.
Councilwoman Helen Gym described the effect mercury has on vulnerable populations this way-- “We know that poor people and people of color are the ones who suffer the most at first from pollution and climate change. We know from our  young people and children that suffer the consequences of these damaging choices that we make. ”
During the event, Councilwoman-At-Large Blondell Reynolds Brown, who authored the resolution, spoke to how important support and advocacy from young people is on this issue, “We have a lot of work to do, and it’s clear as is evidence by these young people here this morning that we can be encouraged because they are on the case keeping us relevant when it comes to the issue of protecting the environment.”
For more information, visit the Defend Our Future website.

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