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 user 2005-04-13 at 11:18:00 am Views: 84
  • #8814
    Ten States Sue EPA Over Loose Mercury Rules
    States Say Feds Let Power
    Plant Emissions Rise Dangerously

    MILWAUKEE(April 05)-Wisconsin has joined a list of
    states suing the federal government’s environmental policies, challenging new
    regulations they say fail to protect children and expectant mothers from dangers
    posed by mercury emissions.

    In announcing his approval of the lawsuit, Gov. Jim Doyle
    said Monday the Bush administration has cowed to big business with new
    guidelines for power plant emissions that could allow 19 states to increase
    mercury emissions in the next five years by setting caps that are higher than
    current levels.

    The New Jersey attorney general’s office is taking the lead
    on the lawsuit. The eight other states involved are California, Connecticut,
    Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York and Vermont.

    The Sierra Club applauded Wisconsin for being the first
    Midwest state to sue. “We hope Governor Doyle takes this opportunity to help
    call on other Great Lakes and Midwest states to join Wisconsin,” said Eric Uram,
    the club’s regional representative.

    Mercury settles in waterways and accumulates in fish. In
    people who eat those fish, the toxic metal can cause neurological and
    developmental problems, particularly in fetuses and children.

    The suit criticizes the EPA for exempting power plants from
    having to install the strictest emissions control technology available. That
    technology would cut mercury pollution by 90 percent, according to the New
    Jersey attorney general’s office.

    The EPA issued a brief statement saying it “is confident in
    the legal foundation of the rule-making and plans to vigorously defend the
    rule.” When the bulk of the states sued last month EPA spokeswoman Cynthia
    Bergman said the government has already taken steps to control mercury emissions
    from other sources and that the rules represent a new set of controls on “our
    last significant source of mercury.”

    Wisconsin has some of the toughest mercury laws in the
    country, requiring all power plants to cut emissions by 40 percent by 2010 and
    by 75 percent by 2015. The Environmental Protection Agency rules aim to cut
    mercury emissions from coal-burning power plants by nearly half within 15

    “We’re showing that we can have high environmental
    standards while using progressive, economically viable technology,” Doyle, a
    Democrat, said at a news conference along the shore of Lake Michigan.

    He was flanked by several environmentalists holding signs,
    including one that said “No more mercury in my lake.”

    In Wisconsin, 90 percent of the lakes and streams have high
    levels of the toxin and every lake and stream in the state is under a fish
    consumption advisory. Still, people eat more fish than the national average.

    The governor said mercury pollution seriously threatens
    Wisconsin’s sport fishing industry, which employs 30,000 people, as well as
    women of childbearing age, pregnant women and young children.