Monday, October 19, 2009

Mercury Emissions = Bad

Michigan became the 19th state to limit mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants. The state's Department of Environmental Quality enacted rules to cut mercury emissions by 90% by 2015. Michigan gets 60% of its electric power from coal-fired plants, and coal-fired plants are the largest sources of mercury pollution in the country.

Mercury is a powerful neurotoxin, really bad stuff. Right now, coal plant emissions are only regulated at the state level. I'm a big believer in states' rights, but for something as serious as mercury, shouldn't we have a real federal policy? All this talk about regulating carbon has taken the federal government's focus away from the really bad pollution in coal emissions. I definitely want to lower our nation's carbon footprint, but I damn sure want to get rid of the mercury in the air.

You know... the easiest way to bring mercury emissions to zero would be by burning natural gas for electricity, but nobody asked me.

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