Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Mercury and Bush Administration Spin

The Bush administration has been working overtime trying to "spin" its pro-industry plan for mercury as something other than what it is -- an initiative to relieve big coal-burning electric power companies of the responsibility to clean up toxic mercury emissions for 15 to 20 years.
A few factoids:

Bogus claims: Be wary about EPA (and industry) claims that the new rule would reduce mercury emissions by 70%. Buried in the fine print of EPA’s material is the note that – because of the flexibility inherent in the “cap-and-trade” approach, is an admission that EPA’s own analyses show that the rules would produce “about a 35 percent reduction in 2010, about 42 percent reduction in 2015, and about 50 percent reduction in 2020 from a 1999 baseline of 48 tons.” There is no evidence that the rule would ever require a 70% reduction in mercury emissions.

Moral values: For an administration that makes much about moral values, we’re sure not hearing much today about the fact that those most impacted by a delay in mercury cleanup will be pregnant women and infants.

Your tax money at work: You may not know this, but the U.S. Department of Energy is sponsoring a very interesting effort to demonstrate innovative mercury cleanup controls. “With today's technologies, mercury removal can range from essentially no control to as high as 90 percent,” the department notes. “The department's goal is to develop more effective options that will cut mercury emissions 50 to 70 percent by 2005 and 90 percent by 2010 at one-quarter to one-half of current cost estimates.” Indeed, recent DOE-sponsored tests have demonstrated very effective controls. Check out some of the results at http://www.netl.doe.gov/coal/E&WR/mercury/index.htmlAnd http://www.netl.doe.gov/coal/E&WR/mercury/index.html


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