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E-M:/ Speak out against mercury pollution: a citizen's hearing Monday



Title: Message

Speak out against mercury pollution!!

You're invited to a public hearing on the EPA's proposed new rules on mercury pollution this coming Monday, April 26, at 6pm at Oakland University.

The Bush administration EPA is considering new rules on how much toxic mercury pollution power plants should be able to legally put into our environment. Instead of protecting children from mercury poisoning, their proposal protects the energy industry by setting weak targets even though pollution controls are available.

Here in Michigan, we suffer from some of the highest mercury pollution in the country. Yet the EPA did not hold a hearing on this proposal in Michigan. This citizen's hearing is our opportunity to show our support for reducing mercury pollution and register official comments to the EPA.

Come join us at the citizen's mercury hearing on Monday to tell the EPA that Michigan wants strong rules to protect the Great Lakes and our health. Then, invite your family and friends to come by forwarding this e-mail to them.

To RSVP, click on this link or paste it into your web browser: http://pirg.org/alerts/route.asp?id=727&id4=ES

Hearing Details

The hearing will be Monday, April 26, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm in Gold room A of Oakland University's Oakland Center in Rochester. Directions: Take I-75 to exit 79 (University Drive) which will take you onto campus, bear left around the roundabout at the entrance to campus and turn right onto Wilson Boulevard.  Oakland Center will be on your right.

Everyone is invited to come and show your support. There will be an opportunity to either testify at the hearing with a brief (3 minute) testimony about the impacts of mercury pollution and the EPA proposal or to write comments instead, for those who prefer not to testify. Child care will be available.

Background

Mercury is a dangerous toxic metal that can cause severe neurological and developmental problems in unborn fetuses and young children whose brains are still developing. People are exposed to mercury mainly by eating contaminated fish. The EPA and forty-three states, including Michigan, have now issued advisories warning people, especially women and children, to avoid or limit eating certain fish because of mercury. But even with these warnings, the EPA estimates that 1 out of 6 U.S. women of childbearing age have potentially unsafe levels of mercury in their blood due to fish consumption.

The best way to protect women and children from mercury is to eliminate it from its largest source: power plants.

Smokestacks spew mercury pollution into the air, where it rains and snows down into our waterways, accumulating in fish and making them unsafe to eat. Amazingly, power plants have yet to be regulated for mercury pollution under federal clean air standards.

After years of work by us and other public health advocates, the EPA is now under a deadline to reduce the dangers of mercury from power plants.

Two years ago, the EPA's own scientists said current technologies could achieve a 90 percent reduction of mercury from power plants. But the electric and coal industries are pressing hard to avoid limiting their mercury emissions.

The EPA's initial proposal was not only too weak to protect public health, but it reclassifies mercury so that it's not considered a "toxic pollutant," despite long-standing, clear evidence of mercury's effects as a developmental toxin. This will allow the EPA to avoid requiring power plants to use the best available technology to reduce emissions, as stipulated by the Clean Air Act.

While the Bush administration seems to be acting contrary to public health and the prevailing science, all hope is not lost. Part of the Bush administration's decision may be based on the fact that they're hearing only from the big polluters affected by the rule, not the public who will be left at risk.

The public comment period on the EPA proposal ends Friday, April 30. This citizen's hearing is our chance to show the Bush administration that they should act without further delay to cut mercury emissions from power plants by 90 percent by the end of the decade.

Please let the EPA know you support reducing mercury pollution by coming to this citizen's hearing. Then ask your family and friends to help by forwarding this e-mail to them.

To RSVP, click on this link or paste it into your web browser: http://pirg.org/alerts/route.asp?id=727&id4=ES

Please feel free to share this e-mail with your family and friends.


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                            Megan Owens
PIRGIM Field Director                office - 734-662-6597
MOwens@pirgim.org           new cell - 248-259-2439 
                          www.PIRGIM.org
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