Minnesota fishing: mercury rising

FishingPhoto: Matt Olson

The threat: Airborne mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants, industrial boilers, Portland cement factories, and other sources will continue to contaminate fish in Minnesota and elsewhere. (Sec. 462)

Mercury causes severe developmental disabilities, deafness, and blindness with prenatal and infant exposure. The chemical can lower fertility rates and raise chances of heart disease in adults. Mercury fish consumption advisories due to mercury exist in every state [PDF], but Minnesota holds the record with 1,039 freshwater advisories this year, far surpassing any other state. In the land of 10,000 lakes, children and women who are pregnant or lactating are warned to limit their consumption of the walleye — the state fish — to once per month [PDF]. The bill would prevent the EPA from issuing and enforcing standards to reduce mercury and other toxic air pollutants from coal-fired power plants and Portland cement production.