More language in proposed mercury regs found to echo industry memos

Language in the Bush administration’s proposed mercury regulations has been found to almost precisely mirror passages in memos written by a law firm representing coal-fired power plants. No, we’re not rerunning a story from months ago — it’s happened again. For those of you following along at home, this is the third such discovery, and as Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.) said, it “no longer comes as much of a surprise.” This time around, the language has to do with whether the Clean Air Act requires the feds to regulate other toxic chemicals, like lead, chromium, and arsenic, emitted by power plants. Though the U.S. EPA found in 2000 that such chemicals are potential carcinogens, the proposed mercury regulations — or rather, the memos from which they plagiarize — contend that the science is too uncertain and the regs would cost power companies too much. EPA chief Mike Leavitt offered a flaccid semi-defense of the plagiarism yesterday, saying, “the way you create a proposed rule is you put in just about anything you want people to comment on.”