Mercury (No Longer) Rising
Over the last year, the Environmental Protection Agency worked hard to pass regulations for coal-burning power plants to limit the emissions of mercury and other toxic pollutants into our air, water, and food. A set of regulations called the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) for power plants, which the EPA developed through extensive research over the last 20 years as a part of the Clean Air Act, is projected save thousands of lives. “By cutting emissions that are linked to developmental disorders and respiratory illnesses like asthma, these standards represent a major victory for clean air and public health — and especially for the health of our children,” said Lisa P. Jackson, the EPA administrator in a statement.
As prolonged, heated debates over the specifics of these regulations continued into December, the Evangelical Environmental Network, a “ministry that seeks to educate, inspire, and mobilize Christians in their effort to care for God's creation," launched an ad campaign opposing mercury pollution called "Mercury & The Unborn".
After producing several radio ads, the Evangelical Environmental Network worked with Planet Vox to quickly convert these radio ads into 30-second television ads at a low cost. The ads, which feature Pastor Tracey, an evangelical mother and pastor, asked people to urge their senators to support EPA’s protection of the unborn from mercury. Pairing footage provided by the Evangelical Environmental Network with stock footage, photos, music, and voiceover, Planet Vox edited together a simple yet heartfelt ad that relayed the mother’s concern about the dangerous levels of mercury pollution in our waters and the serious risks they pose to the unborn. Watch the ad here: (insert PV website link)
The ads aired in Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Tennessee, Washington DC, and Ohio, and were picked up by other Christian media groups.
At the EPA announcement on December 22, 2011, President and CEO of EEN Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox said, "for many it might seem highly unusual for an Evangelical Christian to stand alongside EPA Administrator Jackson this morning. I am standing with her today because we agree on the need to protect children from mercury.” President Obama, who also commended the EPA for its dedication to passing MATS, declared the standards a major step forward . “These new standards will promote the transition to a cleaner and more efficient U.S. electric power system” he said in a memo to Jackson.
Years in the making, the new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards are the first national standards for regulating the emissions of mercury and toxic air pollutants from power plants.
“The standards also ensure that public health and economic benefits far outweigh costs of implementation. EPA estimates that for every dollar spent to reduce pollution from power plants, the American public will see up to $9 in health benefits. The total health and economic benefits of this standard are estimated to be as much as $90 billion annually,” said Jackson.