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E-M:/ PA Joins IL and MN in Call for 90% Mercury Cut



------------------------------------------------------------------------- Enviro-Mich message from Jason Barbose ------------------------------------------------------------------------- For Immediate Release: February 22, 2006
 
Contact:            David Gard, Michigan Environmental Council (MEC), 517-487-9539
                        Mike Shriberg, Public Interest Research Group in Michigan (PIRGIM), 734-662-6597
                        Tom Bissonnette, Michigan Nurses Association (MNA), 517-349-5640
 
 
PA Joins IL and MN in Call for 90% Mercury Cut
Michigan Advocates Urge Similar Protections in the Great Lakes State 
 
Lansing—With the governors of Illinois and Minnesota recently calling on their states to significantly reduce mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants – and Pennsylvania expected to follow suit this week – Michigan environmental and public health advocates are once again urging Governor Jennifer Granholm to protect Michigan families from mercury contamination.
 
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection will announce this week a plan to reduce power plant mercury emissions by 80 percent in four years and 90 percent by 2015.  Acknowledging that the federal rule fails to adequately protect public health, DEP Secretary Kathleen McGinty will brief the state’s air quality advisory committee today and lawmakers tomorrow.  The agency expects to present the plan to the state’s Environmental Quality Board for approval this spring.
 
In early January, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich committed his state to cutting power plant mercury pollution 90 percent by 2009.  Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty joined him last week by calling for legislation that would reduce emissions by 90 percent within the next several years. 
 
“Three Great Lakes states have now called for 90 percent mercury reductions,” MEC’s David Gard said.  Michigan power plants emit well over a ton of toxic airborne mercury every year.  We need to get with the program by installing available, cost-effective mercury controls as soon as possible.” 
 
A draft report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concludes that a majority of mercury pollution in Lake Michigan comes from coal-fired electric power plants located in states that surround the Lake.  Also a new study funded by EPA links mercury fallout in Ohio to nearby coal-burning power plants, apparently contradicting the Bush administration’s
position that the majority of U.S. mercury pollution is from plants in other countries. 
 
“This is further evidence from credible researchers that Michigan power plants are poisoning our waters,” said PIRGIM’s Mike Shriberg. “Aside from not meeting requirements of the Clean Air Act, the current federal rule ignores the effectiveness of today’s technology.  In response, other states have stepped up to the plate to protect public health.  Now it’s Michigan’s turn to do the right thing.”  
 
Environmentalists, health professionals and children’s advocates have been calling on Gov. Granholm to issue a strong state mercury rule for several years.  So far no action has been taken in the wake of a report submitted to her in June 2005 by an official stakeholder workgroup. 
 
According to MNA’s Tom Bissonnette, “We know that exposure to toxic mercury from eating contaminated fish is linked to developmental problems, learning disabilities and other serious health concerns.  The longer we delay in implementing strong standards, the more infants and young children will be at risk.  It’s time to act.
 
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