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GLIN==> MDEQ mercury litigation release



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE    
August 10, 2005         

Contact:  Robert McCann
(517) 241-7397

Michigan Joins Lawsuit to Stop Federal Mercury Rule

Michigan has today filed a motion to join fourteen other states in challenging a recent federal rule that fails to protect Michigan's citizens from the dangers posed by mercury emissions.  

Under the rule being implemented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, each state is allocated a pollution limit with caps being placed on emissions from power plants.  Plants exceeding their cap, however, can simply purchase pollution credits from those emitting less mercury than their cap allows.

"The federal rule falls far short of the measures needed to protect human health and the environment," said Department of Environmental Quality Director Steven E. Chester.  "Regional reductions are needed to protect Michigan's citizens and our water bodies from mercury pollution."

Michigan has filed a motion to intervene with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, DC, asking to join the other states seeking a review of the EPA plan.

Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of mercury in the United States.  Mercury from power plants settles in waterways and accumulates in fish.  The Michigan Department of Community Health has a special health advisory in place for all inland lakes in Michigan due to mercury contamination.  Mercury can cause neurological and developmental troubles, particularly in fetuses.

The federal rule calls for a 21 percent reduction in overall mercury emissions by 2010, and in certain cases, allows for states to increase their emissions.  The rule would require a 66% reduction of mercury from Michigan power plants by 2018; however, this is a "soft cap" that the cap-and-trade program proposed by the EPA could allow utilities to continue to emit excess mercury well beyond 2020.

The Mercury Electric Utility Workgroup recently released their final report containing recommendations for Mercury reductions from coal-fired power plants in Michigan. The workgroup was formed by the DEQ at the request of Governor Jennifer M. Granholm to study the issue of Mercury emissions in our state.  Director Chester is now reviewing the final report and will soon share his recommendations with Governor Granholm.

Michigan joins Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Delaware, New Jersey, New Mexico, and California in challenging the rule.

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"Protecting Michigan's Environment, Ensuring Michigan's Future" 

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

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

PO Box 39,  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039  
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com
========================================== 


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