Mr. Mercury Goes to Washington
Bush Foes Intend to Make Mercury a Campaign Issue
Enviros and Bush adversaries are plotting to make mercury an issue in the presidential campaign. Controversy has been swirling around the Bush administration’s plan for reducing mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants, a plan that critics say panders to industry with unambitious reduction targets, prolonged timetables, and plenty of “flexibility.” Though U.S. EPA and White House officials met repeatedly with utility-industry reps — including one lobbyist nicknamed “Mr. Mercury” — in the lead-up to formulating new mercury rules, the administration claims its plan was not affected by industry pressure nor by substantial campaign donations from utilities and their employees. Opponents find that contention laughable, and they think many voters will too. The progressive advocacy group MoveOn.org has developed a TV ad on the issue that shows a poison symbol morphing into a happy face on a kid’s lunchbox.