Thursday, December 22, 2011

Finally Some Movement on Mercury

Good news -- the Environmental Protection Agency is going to limit mercury emissions from coal fired power plants. It's not a done deal by far -- Congress will likely try very hard to kill the proposed rules. 

Nevertheless, the EPA is finally putting it out there. Some people might be surprised, having assumed this was already taken care of.  No such luck, the fossil fuel industry has resisted this for years while toxins and pollutants continue to pour into our air and water.

The opposition claims that the proposed rules will have a huge impact on power supply or jobs. That seems unlikely. Hard to trust, too. These days it seems our trusted officials can say things that just aren't true. Anyway, I could be wrong, but I'd rather be wrong and have cleaner air, water, and fish than not.

Even people within the fossil fuel industry say it's about time. According to the New York Times

"Ralph Izzo, the chief executive of the Public Service Enterprise Group, the parent of New Jersey’s largest electric utility, said his company had spent $1.3 billion to bring his plants into compliance with New Jersey’s air quality rules, which are as stringent as the new federal standards. He said other utilities had had more than enough notice to clean up their facilities in advance of the federal rule announced on Wednesday.

Mr. Izzo said that the E.P.A. action was “long overdue,” and that the Clean Air Act, under which the new standards were issued, provided enough flexibility to allow all power generators to come into compliance without a threat to the electric supply."

Sometimes you have to pick a side. Do you side with the fossil fuel industry and their well-paid lobbyists and politicians who have dragged their heels for years? Do you believe the industry resisted making the necessary changes all these years because they were concerned about the job security of their employees and the service to their customers? There is a lot of money to be made not buying equipment to clean emissions.

Or do you side with doctors, scientists, and environmentalists who are saying these pollutants are bad for everyone's health, and we can clean them up?

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