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Bush to renege on mercury?

One of the few bright spots in the Bush administration's polluting "Clear Skies" initiative is its provision cutting power plant mercury emissions nearly in half (see "Got Mercury?" cover story, May/June 2002). Now even that accomplishment is in jeopardy. "They touted it as a big initiative, and now they're quietly tiptoeing away from it," says Frank O'Donnell of the Clean Air Trust.

Predictably, Midwestern plant owners don't like the mercury rules, and they have allies in the business-friendly Department of Energy, reports the Associated Press. Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of U.S. mercury emissions.

In other mercury news, a study by the Mercury Policy Project reveals that one in 20 cans of white, or albacore, tuna contains unhealthy levels of the heavy metal. Canned tuna is consumed in 90 percent of American households and one third of all canned tuna is albacore.

Meanwhile, states are picking up the federal slack. Wisconsin is proposing a clampdown on mercury from utility smokestacks, and an agreement between utility operators, the state and environmental groups recently resulted in an historic commitment to reduce mercury emissions by 92 percent at coal-fired plants in Connecticut. "It's a great day for children's health," says Brooke Suter of Clean Water Action. CONTACT: Mercury Policy Project, (802)223-9000, www.mercurypolicy.org.
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Title Annotation:Updates
Author:Motavalli, Jim
Publication:E
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Sep 1, 2003
Words:216
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