Move Demonstrates That Mercury Cleanup is Doable in Maryland
Washington, D.C. (February 22, 2006) The National Wildlife Federation today welcomed Pennsylvanias announcement of a plan to significantly cut mercury emissions from coal plants over the next 5 years. Pennsylvanias decision will affect its 35 coal-burning power plants, which are ranked third in the country for their mercury pollution.
"Pennsylvanias announcement reaffirms that mercury cleanup is achievable. Aggressive action to reduce mercury pollution is possible by the end of this decade, even in a state that is heavily dependent on coal for its electricity generation," says Olivia Campbell of the National Wildlife Federation.
Marylands state legislators are currently debating the Healthy Air Act (SB 154 / HB 189), which would reduce mercury pollution from the states seven coal-fired power plants 90 percent by 2010.
"If Pennsylvania can reduce mercury from power plants in less than five years, without jeopardizing the utility and coal industries or adversely affecting ratepayers, then it should be possible in Maryland as well," says Campbell. The message is clear: Cutting mercury pollution by the end of the decade is possible and affordable. States have the tools necessary to clean up their mercury contamination problems and are taking action to do so in the absence of federal leadership.
Electricity used by Maryland residents comes from the Pennsylvania-Jersey-Maryland (PJM) Power Pool. Pennsylvanias announcement combined with New Jerseys regulations will ensure that coal-fired power plants reduce their mercury pollution and that no states coal-electricity generators in the PJM Power Pool are put at a disadvantage.
Fifty-six percent of Pennsylvanias electricity is generated by coal-fired power plants. Pennsylvania joins Illinois in becoming the second major coal-burning state to announce plans to regulate power plant mercury emissions more stringently than the federal government. Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey have already finalized regulations that are stronger than the federal rules requiring major reductions in coal plant mercury emissions by the end of the decade. Additionally, fifteen states across the country are suing the federal government, charging that the recently finalized rules are too weak and that more urgent action on mercury is possible and required by the federal Clean Air Act.
The National Wildlife Federation is America's conservation organization protecting wildlife for our children's future. Visit http://www.nwf.org/.