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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Bush EPA Ignores Science -- and Recent Developments –In Reaffirming Pro-Industry Mercury Rule

(Washington, DC, May 31, 2006) – The non-profit Clean Air Watch today decried the Bush administration’s decision to reaffirm the bad, industry-friendly mercury air pollution rule initially set in March 2005.

“The Bush administration is ignoring science – and the obvious potential for better pollution cleanup,” said Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch.

“This is a classic case of the Bush administration harming the environment by currying favor with a powerful special interest – the coal-burning electric power industry. This decision means power companies can continue to pump this poison into the air for many extra years, unless states take swifter cleanup action,” O’Donnell noted.

The facts – and developments in the past year – demonstrate this rule is a gift to the industry, O’Donnell added.

When EPA first issued the rule, it claimed that no commercially available pollution controls were available to clean up poisonous mercury. Since that time, various commercial contracts have been announced – giving the lie to the EPA plan. (See some examples at http://www.adaes.com/)

When EPA first issued the rule, it also claimed that its “cap-and-trade” plan would be just dandy – and that local pollution controls weren’t needed – because most of the mercury was allegedly coming from somewhere else. Since that time, EPA has found (in a study of Steubenville, Ohio), that localized reductions in mercury emissions would lead to less mercury in the local environment – thus giving the lie to the cap-and-trade plan.

“The irony here is that the pro-industry Bush plan has triggered a rebellion by states,” O’Donnell said. He pointed to a story in CQ Weekly which noted that 21 states -- some with Republican governors, including New York, Maryland, Minnesota and Connecticut - have served notice to the administration that they will produce their own mercury cleanup plans.

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