Four out of Five Pennsylvanians Prefer State Plan on Mercury Pollution; 87% Acknowledge that Mercury Hurts Developing Babies

Jun 05, 2006, 01:00 ET from Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture)

    HARRISBURG, Pa., June 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Four out of five Pennsylvanians
 want stronger and faster state regulations against mercury pollution from
 power plants instead of the proposed federal rule, according to a poll
 released today at a press conference in the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg.
     (Logo: )
     This poll comes as legislation is being considered in the General
 Assembly to ban the proposal by Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental
 Protection (DEP) to adopt a new regulation that the state's coal-fired
 power plants must reduce mercury pollution by 90 percent by 2015. The
 legislation would instead require Pennsylvania to follow the federal rule,
 which the Commonwealth and 13 other states, four Native American tribes and
 five environmental groups have challenged in court as illegal, and which
 could result in little appreciable mercury cleanup in Pennsylvania.
     The poll was performed for Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future
 (PennFuture), which is working with more than 60 organizations including
 the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, the Pennsylvania State
 Nurses Association, the Pennsylvania Parent Teachers Association, the
 Learning Disabilities Association and the Pennsylvania Council of Churches
 to support the state proposal.
     "Pennsylvanians across the state want stronger protection from mercury
 pollution and they appear willing to pay for it," said Jan Jarrett, vice
 president of PennFuture. "While they don't know the details of the current
 debate on how to regulate mercury, they certainly understand mercury's risk
 to developing babies and more than half are aware that the state's power
 plants create the lion's share of mercury pollution. Given these findings,
 it does not surprise me that four out of five citizens are willing to pay a
 dollar more per month in electricity costs to get the plants cleaned up."
     The poll highlights the priority most Pennsylvanians put on
 environmental protection generally, and mercury pollution control and
 public health specifically. For example, 86 percent want the state of
 Pennsylvania to do more to protect air quality, and 74 percent believe that
 mercury air emissions from power plants are a serious threat. Survey
 respondents also indicated that they believe government rules, not
 voluntary company actions, are likely to make a difference, with only 13
 percent believing that power plants will cut pollution voluntarily. And on
 this issue, just like so many others, the respondents are impatient with
 elected officials; 63 percent are less likely to vote for an elected
 official who votes against the strong state rule.
     The poll of 506 Pennsylvanians was conducted by Terry Madonna Opinion
 Research of Lancaster from April 27 through May 9, 2006. The margin of
 error is 4.4 percent; final survey results were weighted to adjust for
 different selection probabilities and non-response. More details on the
 poll are available at

SOURCE Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture)