POSTED: 21 April 2004 - 8:30am

EPA Plans to Reduce Air Pollution Controls

The Ben & Jerry Ice Cream fortune used for good

Have Your Voice Heard The group helps you do it.

Does this make sense? The government agency that looks out for food safety urges that we limit how much fish we eat because of mercury contamination. Meanwhile, another agency responsible for preventing mercury from getting into the fish (and the rest of the environment) proposes relaxing controls on releases of the poison.

Mercury is known to damage the brains of children growing in the womb. This heavy metal comes out of smokestacks at coal-fired plants, falling back to earth and poisoning its creatures. Like other toxic materials that don't break down, mercury concentrates up the food chain. Because high levels of mercury are now found in many fish, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning this month advising pregnant women and children to stay away from swordfish and to limit the amount of "chunk white" canned tuna they eat to no more than six ounces per week.

Yet just as the FDA urges people to eat less otherwise-healthy food, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposes delaying the regulation of mercury in coal-plant emissions - the largest source of mercury contamination, but the only one unregulated by our government.

The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to set limits on power-plant pollution such as mercury, taking into account what can be done using current technology. The EPA said it could require a 90 percent reduction in mercury emissions by 2008 using current technology. But instead, the Bush administration proposed dragging out the process until 2018, and even then cleaning up only 70% of mercury emissions.

To weaken the current standards, the EPA will have to change its own rules. This is where you come in. The EPA is required to accept public comments on this proposed rule change. TrueMajority is joining the Environmental Working Group, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Council of Churches, the Mercury Policy Project, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Health Care Without Harm to oppose these changes.

To tell the Bush Administration's EPA that you want mercury out of our environment so we can feed fish again safely to our children, click on the link below. You will be asked to fill out your name (etc.) and can use a default message or customize it as you see fit.


hit tracker