Pennsylvania governor blocked from issuing mercury rule

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) got green plaudits last year when he proposed a plan to scrub 90 percent of mercury pollution from the state’s coal-fired power plants by 2015, but a little-known state agency is now blocking his move. The Legislative Reference Bureau has sided with the majority of state senators, who object to Rendell’s plan and want Pennsylvania to stick with less stringent federal mercury rules. The bureau says the Senate hasn’t had enough time to review Rendell’s regulation and thus the bureau has refused to publish it, meaning it’s stuck in rule purgatory. Meanwhile, as the politicians and bureaucrats bicker, Pennsylvania’s 36 coal-fired power plants continue liberally spewing mercury, which works its way up the food chain to humans and poses particular threats to the development of children.