Mercury in Retrograde
The Clean Air Network, a coalition of nearly 1,000 enviro groups, called on the U.S. EPA yesterday to require some 600 old, coal-burning power plants to reduce their mercury emissions by 90 percent. The aging plants, which were exempted from most pollution controls under the 1970 Clean Air Act, emit as much as 51 tons of mercury into the air each year, about one-third of all mercury emissions in the U.S. Mercury pollution is such a problem that 41 states have issued warnings about eating mercury-tainted fish, which can cause brain damage. The EPA is expected to decide in December whether it will close the loophole that lets coal-fired plants pollute excessively. Separately, enviros hope to push through a bill sponsored by Sen. Jim Jeffords (R-Vt.) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) that would clamp down on the dirty plants.