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E-M:/ Mercury Reductions

Enviro-Mich message from Isaac Elnecave <isaacmec@voyager.net>

Hello All:

With the recent onslaught of candidates deciding to do something about
mercury, I can only come to the conclusion that annual elections are
needed to ensure environmental protection.  This is all the more
important because of the day after effect.  In 2000, while Houston was
suffering from the worst air quality in the country, Candidate George W.
Bush announced a plan to control the four major pollutants from power
plants --including the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.  It didn't take
him more than 2 months to completely back out of that pledge. 
Therefore, I look on any candidate statements about controlling power
plant pollution, including mercury,
with a great deal of scepticism.

I read Mr. Posthumus' statement on mercury control.  Other than saying
he is committed to a 90% reduction of mercury by 2020, his statement was
vague and as such unpersuasive.  This is true of all the other candidate
pledges to remove mercury.

In the end, the key way to remove mercury is to make major reductions
from coal-fired power plants that remain the largest unregulated source
of mercury and contribute roughly 40% of mercury emissions.

Currently, there is federal legislation that would do so, "The Clean
Power Act" in the Senate and the "The Clean Smokestacks Act" in the
House of Representatives.  These bills would not only control nitrogen
oxides, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide but also call for a 90%
reduction in mercury emissions.  As of this moment, only two Michigan
congressional representatives have co-sponsored this bill
--Representative Lynn Rivers and John Conyers.

If a candidate wants to be seen as serious on this issue, they can do
one of two actions: 1.  They need to write a letter to the Michigan
congressional delegation asking them to co-sponsor this legislation.

2. Candidates should write letters to the State Senate Majority Leader
asking for hearings on similar power plant legislation introduced last
year by State Senator Alma Wheeler Smith.  Currently, the bill is 
languishing there.  

Without concrete actions on this issue NOW, I beleive we can expect the
eventual winner to pull a Bush on the mercury issue.

Isaac Elnecave
Michigan Environmental Council

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