New mercury plan from local regulators would be stronger than Bush’s

Prompted by concerns that the Bush administration’s plan to battle mercury pollution wouldn’t do much to, uh, battle mercury pollution, two groups of state and local air-quality regulators (bet the parties rock at that convention) have crafted a stronger plan — and they say at least 20 states are interested. The Bushies’ new federal regulations would reduce mercury emissions 70 percent by 2018; in contrast, one version of the regulators’ plan would bring ’em down at least 90 to 95 percent by 2012. The alternative proposal also nixes mercury credit trading between states, one of the most controversial aspects of the Bush plan. An energy-industry spokesflack doth protest the regulator-driven effort, saying it’ll drive up energy costs. But the regulators call that a scare tactic. “Almost everybody agrees that the federal mercury control program is severely flawed,” said regulator front guy Bill Becker, adding that the stronger proposal is a “technologically feasible and cost-effective alternative to the EPA plan.”