Saturday, March 20, 2010

Report Shows Energy Industry Lacking in Mercury Emission Controls

A recent report released by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) ranked the nation's top fifty power plants based on mercury emissions. 16 of the 50 power plants were in the Great Lakes region. According to the report by the EIP, mercury removal is possible:

"Years of inaction and delay have prevented Americans from enjoying the power plant mercury cleanup that is required by the Clean Air Act. In 1990, Congress passed the Clean Air Act amendments that set in motion EPA’s requirement to regulate toxic emissions from power plants. But, in 2005, EPA backed away from a protective power plant mercury regulation and instead adopted a weak cap-and-trade scheme, a move that a federal Court of Appeals later overturned.

...Today’s power plant mercury emissions levels are no cause for celebration. When EPA adopted its weak cap-and-trade power plant mercury rule, during the Bush administration, the agency predicted that power plant mercury emissions would drop to between 31 and 34 tons per year by 2010. EPA also concluded that the use of available pollution controls aimed at reducing soot and smog pollution could reduce mercury by 70 percent, to 15 tons per year, and that even stricter cleanup requirements could reduce mercury by 90 percent, to 5 tons per year. The bottom line: Power plant mercury emissions remain unnecessarily high; emissions are significantly higher than the levels that would be achieved if power plants were required to install currently available pollution control technology like bag-houses, scrubbers, and sorbent controls."

This report comes at a time when there is much debate over whether to build new power plants. Here in Michigan there has been a lot of opposition to new coal plants in Bay City and Rogers City. While Michigan only has one power plant listed in the report, it ranked 8th in the nation for mercury emissions. The DTE Energy owned Monroe power plant emitted 1,147 lbs of mercury in 2008. That was an over 23 percent increase from 2007 and a third of Michigan's total mercury emissions for all of 2008.

EIP Report:

No comments: