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EPA Sued Over Relaxed Mercury Regs

No surprise to me, due to the clear link between the rising number of children victimized by the ravages of autism and the pollution from coal-fired power plants, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is being sued by nine states for its relaxed pro-industry stance on mercury emissions.

The lawsuit claims the EPA's announced reductions in mercury emissions don't go far enough to satisfy existing Clear Air Act standards. Their legitimate argument: The plan includes a loophole for the worst violators by allowing them to trade "credits" with cleaner plants. This bait-and-switch tactic would allow some plants to increase their emissions and create hot spots of mercury pollution, threatening communities, according to New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey.

Even worse, the plan doesn't kick in for another five years, meaning utilities aren't required to do anything to control mercury until 2010. The EPA's typically clueless response: The new rules do the job, and any child-bearing woman should follow federal dietary guidelines and limit their intake of certain kinds of fish.

Of course, the EPA plan would've been far different if they hadn't chosen to ignore a Harvard study they commissioned that found the health benefits of clamping down on mercury pollution were 100 times greater than the federal agency originally disclosed. Factoring the study into the rule would've meant more stringent regulations, but the EPA deleted the results from public documents.

Yahoo News March 30, 2005

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