Mar 21, 2005
Mercury is a known toxin, especially damaging to pregnant women, fetuses and young children. "We know that for every six women of childbearing age in the U.S., one of them has mercury levels in her blood high enough to put her baby at risk," said the executive director of the Sierra Club. But rather than protect the population from this deadly contaminant, the Environmental Protection Agency just announced new rules to allow mercury contamination to continue.
What is the largest source of mercury contaminants? The nation's power plants. They have been given a free ride NOT to cut back on the mercury they spew out into the air. In fact, they are allowed by the EPA's new regulation to trade "pollution" credits among the utilities. A plant which has met its limit could sell the right to produce an extra amount of pollution to a utility that is not meeting the limits set.
The EPA's own studies in 2000 and 2001 proposed the opposite of the regulation adopted in March. The EPA staff argued that it was possible to demand reduction in mercury emissions that would cut this pollutant by 90% in three years using existing technology.
Instead the new ruling requires only half the current amount of mercury to be cut – and that not for another 15 years!
Congress votes to continue pollution, and the EPA claims to administer a "Clean Air Act." Jon Stewart wants these clowns for an act on Comedy Central.