Friday, November 17, 2006

In big rebuke to Bush, more than 20 states adopt tougher mercury standards

It's nothing less than a stunning rebuke to President Bush and his politically-managed Environmental Protection Agency.

No fewer than 22 states -- red and blue alike -- are moving forward with tougher controls on mercury from coal-burning electric power plants than sought by the Bush administration.

(States were under a deadline to submit their plan to EPA today.) This development comes the same week as a resolution by the American Medical Association that gave a decisive thumbs-down to the industry-friendly Bush approach.

The tougher state rules are based in large part on a model prepared by the National Association of Clean Air Agencies. The association's release is below.


November 17, 2006 (202) 624-7864 (office)
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Many State Programs More Stringent than Federal Mercury Rule

Dissatisfied with the federal Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR), adopted by EPA on March 15, 2005, over 20 states have adopted or are pursuing their own plans to address mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants. These state plans are calling for such provisions as stronger emission limits, shorter deadlines and limitations on trading, all of which address deficiencies that states have identified in the federal rule.

States are required to submit their mercury plans today – November 17, 2006. They can base their plans on EPA’s model rule (contained in CAMR) or develop their own, more stringent, programs. “State and local clean air agencies are deeply concerned about the serious public health and environmental dangers posed by power plant mercury emissions, and are determined to put in place programs that will provide an adequate measure of protection to the citizens they serve,” said Bill Becker, Executive Director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA). “Many have concluded that the federal mercury rule is simply not up to the task of tackling this tremendous problem. Therefore, nearly half the states in the nation have moved to adopt programs that will yield greater mercury reductions on a faster schedule.” In considering strengthening alternatives to CAMR, many states have relied upon a model rule that NACAA developed in November 2005 to guide them.

While not all state rules have been completed, it is clear that states have adopted or are pursuing a variety of measures to include in their plans, many of them far more stringent than EPA’s program. Based on the latest information, state plans are divided as follows: 22 states have adopted or are pursuing programs significantly more stringent than the federal rule, 24 state programs are largely consistent with the federal model, and the remainder are uncertain or are not required to participate. Among the more stringent state programs, strengthening measures include the following: 15 states call for greater reductions (most in the 80-90-percent range, as compared to 70 percent under CAMR); 18 will require the reductions to be obtained years sooner than under CAMR; and 17 will prohibit or restrict trading of emissions, which is allowed by the federal rule. The following states have adopted or are pursuing more stringent programs:


New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York

North Carolina

NACAA is the national association of air pollution control agencies in 54 states and territories and over 165 metropolitan areas across the country. The association, until recently, was known as the State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators (STAPPA) and the Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officials (ALAPCO).

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