EPA To Unveil Stricter Rules For Power Plants : NPR
“Clean Coal” has always been an oxymoron, but it can be cleaner than it is now. Forget about the CO2 for just a moment and focus instead on the mercury, arsenic, and acid that coal power plants pump into the air.
More than 20 years ago, Congress ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate toxic air pollution. It’s done that for most industries, but not the biggest polluters — coal and oil-burning power plants.
The EPA now plans to change that later this week, by setting new rules to limit mercury and other harmful pollution from power plants.
When Congress first told the EPA to regulate toxic air pollution in 1990, pediatrician Lynn Goldman was investigating the impact of mercury from mining operations on Native American families living near a contaminated lake.
“We had children that had levels that were many times higher than levels that are considered to be safe,” Goldman says.
Their families caught and ate a lot of local fish, and Goldman says she had to advise them to stop. The fish had too much mercury.
From The Plant To Plate
Goldman, now dean of George Washington University’s school of public health, says mercury damages children’s developing brains, impairing their verbal ability.