Milken Institute School of Public Health Dean Lynn Goldman Available to Comment on Supreme Court Case on Mercury and Air Toxics Standards

Media Contact: Kathy Fackelmann, 202-994-8354,

WASHINGTON, DC (March 24, 2015)—On March 25, 2015 the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Mercury and Air Toxic Standards, which sets emission limits for power plants around the country. The Court is expected to rule on the case in June. If the High Court upholds the EPA rule, it would mean that coal-fired power plants would have to meet EPA standards that limit the amount of mercury, arsenic and other toxic pollutants that can be released.

“Mercury exposure from power plant emissions presents a serious risk to human health,” says Lynn R. Goldman, MD, MS, MPH, the Michael and Lori Milken Dean of Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University. Power plants are responsible for more than half of the mercury, arsenic and acid gases released into the air in the United States. “The EPA standard is based on sound scientific evidence and represents the first national limits on these highly damaging pollutants.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Court upheld the standards last April but the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would review that decision. The case was brought before the court by lawyers for Michigan and other states as well as by industry groups. They argue that the standards are unnecessary and will be costly for the industry to put in place.

Dean Lynn Goldman at Milken Institute SPH and a group of 15 other environmental health scientists submitted a friend-of-the-court brief that supports the EPA in this case. The brief by Goldman and her colleagues says that if the High Court upholds the EPA standard it would protect the American public from damaging pollutants and especially mercury, a heavy metal which can harm the developing brain of young children. If the EPA limits are put in place they could reduce exposure to mercury and other toxic pollutants and could prevent the premature death of about 11,000 people per year, Goldman says.

Goldman, who is a pediatrician and environmental epidemiologist, currently serves as the Dean of the Milken Institute SPH at the George Washington University. She previously served as an Assistant Administrator for Toxic Substances at the EPA and is available to comment on the court case and its potential impact on the public health.

Read the friend of the court brief filed by Dr. Goldman and other environmental health scientists. Listen to a tele-briefing on the court case sponsored by the Environmental Defense Fund, which is also defending the EPA Mercury and Air Toxic Standards.


Milken Institute School of Public Health:

Established in July 1997 as the School of Public Health and Health Services, Milken Institute School of Public Health is the only school of public health in the nation’s capital. Today, nearly 1,400 students from almost every U.S. state and more than 43 countries pursue undergraduate, graduate and doctoral-level degrees in public health. The school also offers an online Master of Public Health, MPH@GW, and an online Executive Master of Health Administration, MHA@GW, which allow students to pursue their degree from anywhere in the world.