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Re: E-M:/ Cement Plant Mercury Pollution

Congratulations to Bill Freese and HEAL, Alex Sagady, Sierra Club, Earthjustice and all other groups and individuals who helped in this important victory on an issue that has tremendous impact on human health and the health of our watersheds. This has been a long time coming.

Kay Cumbow
Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination

At 01:03 PM 1/17/2009, Alex J. Sagady & Associates wrote:
Note the mention of Huron Environmental Activist League in Alpena County.

For Immediate Release
Friday, January 16, 2009 3:08PM

Cuomo Reaches Settlement with EPA to Enforce Requirements of Clean Air

New Limits Expected to Cut Mercury Air Pollution from New York?s 3
Portland Cement Plants, Source of 20 Percent of All Mercury Emitted in
the State

NEW YORK, N.Y. (January 16, 2009) ? Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo
announced today that his office, leading a nine state coalition, has
reached a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
requiring new limits on the amount of mercury and other toxic pollutants
that cement plants can discharge.   

The EPA?s new rules will address mercury and other toxic emissions
from Portland cement plants nationwide, including in New York. Portland
cement is the most common type of cement and a basic ingredient of
concrete, mortar, stucco and grout. New York state is home to three
Portland cement plants: the LaFarge plant in Ravena, the St. Lawrence
plant in Catskill, and the Glen Falls plant in Glen Falls. Collectively,
these three plants discharge roughly 500 pounds of mercury emissions in
New York?s air each year ? about 20 percent of all mercury emitted
annually in the state.

?For years, the Bush Administration?s EPA thumbed its nose at the
Clean Air Act and refused to set strict standards for controlling
emissions of mercury from cement plants,? said Attorney General Cuomo.
?The EPA has made the right choice by going back to the drawing board
and committing to adopt new hazardous air pollutant standards for cement
plants that comply with the Clean Air Act. My office looks forward to
working with the Obama Administration to reverse these harmful policies
and improve the environment for the sake of our future generations.?

In February 2007, Cuomo led a coalition including Connecticut,
Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and
Pennsylvania in filing a lawsuit against the EPA for adopting air
emission standards for cement plants that did not adequately control
mercury and other hazardous air pollutants. The suit argued that the
Bush Administration?s EPA, in violation of the Clean Air Act, had not
based emission standards for these plants on state-of-the-art pollution
control technology.

Today?s settlement requires EPA to propose new standards for mercury
and other hazardous air pollutant emissions from cement plants by March
31, 2009 and, after taking public comment, adopt final standards by
March 31, 2010. As required by the Clean Air Act, the Agency must
require the maximum available control technology in setting these
standards. The settlement will go into effect after EPA publishes it in
the Federal Register and provides an opportunity for notice and comment.

Several environmental groups joined New York and the eight other states
in today?s settlement, including the New York-based Friends of Hudson,
Earthjustice, the Sierra Club, Desert Citizens Against Pollution,
Downwinders At Risk, Huron Environmental Activist League and Montanans
Against Toxic Burning. The Portland Cement Association, an industry
group, also signed the settlement.
?Cement plants are among the worst mercury polluters in this
country,? said Jim Pew, attorney with Earthjustice. ?We are pleased
that our work with Attorney General Cuomo and the other states has
resulted in this important environmental victory.?

Mercury released to air can make its way into lakes, rivers, and
coastal waters, where the most toxic form can build up in fish and
shellfish ? the main sources of mercury exposure to humans.  The New
York State Department of Health has issued fish consumption advisories
for at least 136 specific bodies of water, warning women of childbearing
age not to eat fish because of dangerously high mercury levels.  In
humans, mercury can damage the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and immune
system. Children and developing fetuses are at special risk to mercury,
with even minute levels being linked to problems with memory, attention
and language development.  Mercury can also lead to reduced
reproduction, slower growth and development, abnormal behavior, and even
death in wildlife that eat contaminated fish.

This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Michael
Myers under the supervision of Special Deputy Attorney General for
Environmental Protection Katherine Kennedy. 
Christopher H. Reed
59 Main Street
Philmont, NY 12565
(518) 672-7743

Alex J. Sagady & Associates        http://www.sagady.com

Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy,
Expert Witness Review and Litigation Investigation on Air, Water and
Waste/Community Environmental and Resource Protection
Prospectus at:  http://www.sagady.com/sagady.pdf

657 Spartan Avenue,  East Lansing, MI  48823 
(517) 332-6971; ajs@sagady.com