For Immediate Release
New Report Identifies Top 25 Mercury Air Pollution Emitters in United States
WASHINGTON - A new report issued by Environmental Defense Fund today identifies the top 25 emitters of mercury pollution in the U.S. electric power sector as the Environmental Protection Agency takes its first steps to clean up toxic air pollution from coal-fired power plants.
The report, Mercury Alert: Cleaning up Coal Plants for Healthier Lives, finds that a huge amount of mercury pollution is released from a relatively small number of plants – ones that have yet to install readily available pollution controls that other plants are already using.
"These 25 plants alone were responsible for nearly a third of all mercury emissions in the power sector, while providing only eight percent of our electricity," said Steve Cochran, vice president for climate and air at Environmental Defense Fund. "We need federal action to make sure these plants are cleaned up."
EPA today will propose long-overdue rules under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 to reduce air toxics from power plants, including mercury – a potent neurotoxin – arsenic, dioxin, and acid gases. EDF's report bolsters the case for federal action to clean up plants that have yet to install readily available pollution controls.
The report highlights the top 25 emitters in 2009. Twenty of them are located within 50-100 miles of some of the largest metropolitan areas in the country, including Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, St. Louis and Austin. Texas leads the nation in pollution from coal-fired power, the report finds.
The report also details recent mercury contamination and fish consumption advisories, reported installations of mercury controls, and state regulations that are driving their implementation.
There are widely available, cost-effective and tested technologies to reduce mercury pollution from power plants by more than 90 percent. Even Arch Coal, the nation's second largest coal producer, says carbon injection can achieve 90% removal of mercury from Powder River Basin coals.
Only 17 states currently regulate mercury air emissions. The upcoming EPA rule will establish a much-needed national policy to clean up plants that remain largely uncontrolled.
Full report and more information at www.edf.org/top25.