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E-M:/ FW: EPA Exceeds Mercury Cleanup Projection

AP: EPA Exceeds Mercury Cleanup Projection

By JOHN HEILPRIN, Associated Press Writer

The Environmental Protection Agency estimated in an internal report as much as $2 billion in yearly benefits from cutting mercury pollution just in the Southeast  40 times the value the agency projected publicly for the entire nation.

Critics said the report is evidence the Bush administration sought to play down the benefits of reducing mercury pollution in order to justify not requiring owners of power plants to buy the best available technology for lowering mercury emissions.

"EPA has a track record of withholding information that doesn't support their agenda, and this is the latest example," said Felice Stadler, a policy specialist with the National Wildlife Federation.

The report, a copy of which was obtained Thursday by The Associated Press, dates to January 2004. That was 14 months before the EPA released its mercury rule for power plants.

For the rest of the story......