Obama to EPA: We'll 'Prevent Thousands of Premature Deaths, Thousands of Heart Attacks, and Cases of Childhood Asthma'

By Penny Starr | January 10, 2012 | 6:44 PM EST

President Barack Obama. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Speaking to the staff of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Administrator Lisa Jackson on Tuesday, President Barack Obama said government regulations on power plant emissions will save “thousands” of lives and prevent "cases of childhood asthma."

“Just a few weeks ago, thanks to the hard work of so many of you, Lisa and I were able to announce new common-sense standards to better protect the air we breathe from mercury and other harmful air pollution,” Obama said, referring to new federal standards finalized on Dec. 21, 2011 to regulate mercury and other emissions from coal power plants. “And that was a big deal.”

“And because we acted, we’re going to prevent thousands of premature deaths, thousands of heart attacks and cases of childhood asthma,” Obama said.

In his brief remarks, Obama thanked the staff for “all the great work you do.”

Obama also said that EPA regulations can help create jobs, citing as examples people working to clean up contaminated sites and fuel-efficient vehicles that will save money spent on gas at the pump so consumers can “go spend on something else.”

The president ended his remarks by saying the EPA’s mission is to “make sure that we’ve got a cleaner world.”

“So all of you, and all of those who served before you, have made a difference,” Obama said. “Our environment is safer because of you.”

“Our country is stronger because of you,” he said. “Our future is brighter because of you. And I want you to know that you’ve got a president who is grateful for your work and will stand with you every inch of the way as you carry out your mission to make sure that we’ve got a cleaner world.”