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Fw: E-M:/ Report documents mercury emissions from utilities

Enviro-Mich message from "Delavan Sipes" <delavan@cybersol.com>

Aren't these groups missing the big ship here?  Why should ANYONE be exempt

from requirements to limit ANY toxic emissions or improper disposal of ANY
toxic substances?
> From: MICHAEL W. MURRAY <MURRAY@nwf.org>
> To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
> Subject: E-M:/ Report documents mercury emissions from utilities
> Date: Thursday, March 19, 1998 11:25 AM
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Enviro-Mich message from "MICHAEL W. MURRAY" <MURRAY@nwf.org>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> March 19, 1998					
> CONTACT: Sally Billups, MEC, 517-487-9539
> 	        Michael Murray, NWF, 734-769-3351	
>                  Brian Imus, PIRGIM, 734-662-6597
> Report Shows Michigan Ranks 9th Nationally in Mercury Releases from Power
> Ann Arbor, MI, March 19 -- The Federal Government is not adequately
protecting people in Michigan and other states from the dangers of toxic
mercury spewing from power plants, environmental groups charged today.
> 	The National Wildlife Federation (NWF), Public Interest Research Group
in Michigan (PIRGIM), and Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) jointly
released with the Clean Air Network (CAN) a new report documenting the
widespread contamination of fish in the U.S. and Great Lakes with the
dangerous neurological poison mercury. The CAN report, Turn Up the Heat on
Dirty Power: Why Power Plants Must Reduce Their Mercury Pollution,
identifies coal- and oil-burning power plants, including those of Detroit
Edison and Consumers Power, as the single largest source of mercury
emissions to the nation*s air. The report notes that much of this mercury
can wind up in the nations waterways, and recommends actions to control
mercury from these power plants, which are currently exempted from toxic
chemical regulations.
> 	The groups charged that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has
ignored the threat of emissions from power plants even though mercury can
cause irreversible neurological damage and cerebral palsy, as well as more
subtle neurological problems at lower exposure levels.
> 	People typically are exposed to mercury by eating freshwater fish and
seafood, including canned tuna fish, according to Dr. Michael Murray, staff
scientist with NWF*s Great Lakes office. *Mercury contamination poses a
particular risk to pregnant women, fetuses and very young children,* Murray
said. The EPA recently noted that up to 166,000 pregnant women in the U.S.
in a given year are at risk due to exposure to elevated methylmercury
levels in fish. 
> 	The report notes that 39 states, including Michigan, have issued
advisories warning people to limit consumption of fish due to elevated
mercury levels. The recent Michigan Fish Advisory booklet advises mothers
who are breast-feeding, pregnant women, women who intend to have children
and children under 15 to eat no more than one meal per month of several
fish species from most inland lakes due to mercury contamination.  
> 	*Congress and the EPA have refused to protect the health of our children
from mercury released by dirty power plants,* said Brian Imus of PIRGIM. He
noted that Michigan ranks ninth in the nation in utility mercury emissions
to the air. *It is unconscionable  to let the electric industry off the
hook while putting children at risk from neurological problems. While the
industry gets away scot-free, the public is having to worry about poisons
in our food,* added Imus. 
> 	Other sources of mercury in the environment include trash incinerators,
medical waste incinerators and certain manufacturing processes.
> 	The EPA has in recent years issued rules for other mercury sources, and
will require up to a 90 percent reduction in mercury from them in future
years. The report said that similar requirements should be required of the
utility sector. *We have to level the playing field so that all industries
are doing their fair share to reduce human-generated mercury emissions,*
Murray added. The report charges that the utility sector was exempted from
regulations on toxic air pollutant emissions in the 1990 Clean Air Act
amendments due to Congressional indecision and utility pressure. 
> 	*EPA has failed to control the biggest source of mercury, and the
problem will get worse if nothing is done,* Imus said. He noted that power
plant mercury emissions are projected to increase from 51 to 60 tons per
year from 1994 to 2010, according to a recent EPA report on utility
> 	In addition to mercury and 66 other toxic chemicals, such as arsenic and
cadmium, coal-fired power plants also emit pollutants that lead to ozone
smog, fine particle haze, acid rain, and global warming. *Power plants
should be looking at all the smokestack emissions, and take a comprehensive
approach to cleaning up all these problems, including mercury,* said Sally
Billups, a policy specialist with MEC.  
> 	EPA has been slow to require that Detroit Edison, Consumers Power and
other power companies  adequately monitor and report their emissions of
mercury. Starting next year, power companies will be required to report
their emissions under the Toxics Release Inventory program. However,
because of high reporting thresholds, many utilities will not be required
to report emissions of mercury or other hazardous air pollutants, according
to the report.
> 	Like other air pollutants, mercury emissions travel across state borders
with prevailing winds.  *This isn*t merely a local problem,* said Imus.
*Mercury pollution has serious consequences for downwind states. We need
national action to address this health threat.*
> 	Imus said the best way to solve the power plant mercury problem is by
reducing the use of coal.  *Fortunately there are abundant supplies of
alternative fuels, including renewable sources of energy and natural gas,*
Imus said.   
> 	*There is also a huge untapped potential for energy efficiency in
Michigan,* noted Billups. *If the Michigan legislature is wise it will use
the process of utility deregulation to stimulate these energy
> 	Murray, Imus and Billups called on federal and state authorities to
require reductions in power plant mercury emissions.  They also called for
expanded monitoring of mercury-contaminated waters. 
> 	The National Wildlife Federation is the nation's largest
member-supported conservation advocacy and education group. Since 1936, the
Federation has educated and inspired families to uphold America's
conservation tradition and united people from all walks of life to protect
nature, wildlife, and the world we all share. 
> 	PIRGIM is a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan environmental and consumer
watchdog group with 10,000 members across the state.
> 	The Michigan Environmental Council, founded in 1980, is a coalition of
48 environmental and public health organizations with 100,000 individual
members.  For 17 years, MEC has provided a voice for the environment at the
State Capitol. In addition to serving as a clearinghouse of environmental
information, MEC develops public policy, educates elected officials and the
general public, and provides leadership and issue training for member
> 	The Clean Air Network is a nationwide alliance of clean air activists.
> ###
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