Pennsylvania plan would cut mercury emissions 90 percent in nine years

If a plan approved by a state board yesterday makes it through 14 days of withering stares from the legislature, Pennsylvania will join the cadre of states enacting tougher environmental rules than the feds. The controversial plan, which aims to cut mercury emissions 90 percent over the next nine years, “is a landmark victory for environmental protection and public health in Pennsylvania,” said Gov. Ed Rendell (D). “We cannot accept that our state is laden with more toxic mercury pollution than nearly anywhere else in the nation and do nothing about it.” Second only to Texas in emissions of the neurotoxin, Pennsylvania spews five tons of mercury a year, 80 percent of that from its 36 power plants. A coalition of nurses, teachers, hunters, and others pushed for the cuts, which John Hanger of Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future hailed as the “birth of a new Pennsylvania that understands a clean environment is essential for not only public health but also a vibrant economy.” Hear that, D.C.?