Unborn children would face greater health risks if the Environmental Protection Agency moves to rescind a rule regulating hazardous air pollutants emitted by power plants, said the chairmen of two U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ committees.
The bishops argued in a March 22 statement that the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, or MATS, are needed to protect pregnant women as well.
“The proposed change to the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule is troubling since it is well-documented that pregnant mothers and their unborn children are the most sensitive to mercury pollution and its adverse health effects,” said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
Added Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, “The MATS rule reflects a proper respect for life of the human person and of God’s creation – a great example of integral ecology called for in ‘Laudato Si’,‘ Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment….
The USCCB supported the standards when they were proposed by President Barack Obama’s administration in 2011 because “even small amounts of these harmful pollutants in the environment are linked to health problems, particularly in children before and after birth, the poor and the elderly,” Picarello’s letter said, quoting from the bishop’s original comment on MATS.