EPA skewed analysis in favor of cap-and-trade mercury regs, GAO says

The U.S. EPA misrepresented the analysis of its plan to regulate mercury emissions from U.S. power plants, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office reported yesterday. The EPA’s proposal, released last year, explored two approaches to limiting emissions of the neurotoxin. The one largely favored by environmentalists would mandate emissions caps at every plant, whereas the approach favored by the Bush administration would allow dirtier facilities to buy the “right” to pollute from cleaner ones. The GAO’s investigation found that the EPA had not fully documented mercury’s harmful effects on brain development and other neurological functions, and that it had weighted its analysis in favor of the cap-‘n’-trade camp by overestimating its benefits. Despite all its flaws, which EPA spokesperson Cynthia Bergman said would be addressed in its final form, the increasingly controversial mercury rule is still slated for rollout March 15.