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E-M:/ Detroit News Letter from Business CEO: "Stricter mercury reductions help economy"

A nice rebuttal from a business executive to a July 5 Detroit News editorial on state mercury policy ran in today's News:
Full text below:
Monday, July 18, 2005
Stricter mercury reductions help economy

As a Michigan business executive, I was troubled by The Detroit News' July 5 editorial that presents mercury reductions greater than federal guidelines as bad for business and ineffective in protecting health in Michigan ("Federal mercury guidelines best for state"). Far from being ineffective, deeply reducing mercury pollution in this state has the potential to greatly benefit the state and its businesses. 

Like other Michigan community and business leaders, I am deeply concerned about the effects of mercury on children's health and on tourism and fishing. Mercury reduction stands not only to bolster health and environment but it can also help boost Michigan's economy.

Investment in mercury and other pollution controls will create construction jobs and long-term employment in clean energy technologies. A cleaner environment and better recreational opportunities will grow our fishing and tourism industries and make it easier for Michigan to attract and retain new businesses and employees. As a business owner, I also know that health care costs are a skyrocketing expense for Michigan employers. Reducing mercury pollution is one important step towards containing our healthcare cost crisis.

Cost-effective and technologically viable options for deeply reducing mercury pollution are available right now. According to the state's mercury workgroup report, 90 percent mercury control at power plants can be achieved for $0.001-$0.004/kWh. The overall economic gains far outweigh these minor increases in electricity costs.

Finally, as a Hispanic leader, I must also point out the disproportional effects that mercury pollution has on minority communities. Studies show that minority and low income communities are less aware of mercury pollution and its effects on human health, they consume more impacted fish, and they are more likely to live -- and fish -- near a mercury releasing power plant.

The weak federal standards will do little to protect and improve the health of Michigan's citizens, environment and economy. With more protective mercury reduction standards for Michigan, we can better safeguard the future of Michigan's people, environment and economy.

Lizabeth Ardisana

Chief executive officer

ASG Renaissance





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