HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Citizens for Pennsylvania's
Future (PennFuture) today praised the Pennsylvania Independent Regulatory
Review Commission (IRRC) for voting 3 to 2 to approve new regulations
proposed by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) which will
protect the health of children by reducing toxic mercury pollution made by
the state's coal-fired power plants. The IRRC approval is the last
regulatory approval needed before implementation of the rule. The
legislature, however, could still attempt to kill the program in the lame
duck session later this month.
(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20060425/PHTU035LOGO )
"We are pleased and gratified that the IRRC stood tall against the
special interests and with the 80 percent of Pennsylvanians who support
tough Pennsylvania specific regulations against toxic mercury pollution,"
said John Hanger, president and CEO of PennFuture. "This issue is crucial
to Pennsylvania families since our state's power plants are the second
biggest emitters of toxic mercury pollution in the country. Our
congratulations and gratitude go to both DEP Secretary Kathleen McGinty and
Governor Edward Rendell for their vision and courage on this issue. "
"We urge the Pennsylvania legislature to keep faith with their
constituents and let this regulation become law," continued Hanger. "This
rule has been thoroughly discussed in stakeholder groups, public hearings,
and a period of public comment during the past two years. At every
juncture, the rule was met with overwhelming support, including an
unprecedented outpouring of formal public comments - nearly 11,000 filed,
with only 37 in opposition.
"Some in the legislature want to nullify the regulatory process and
overturn the clear wishes of their constituents," continued Hanger. "That
would be arrogance of the nth degree, and is exactly what the voters
rebelled against at the polls earlier this month. We must not let the
"We urge the legislature to abide by the IRRC decision and let the
mercury regulations become law," concluded Hanger. "Surely protecting
babies from brain and neurological damage from toxic mercury is a cause
worth fighting for."
The genesis of the Pennsylvania rule was in August 2004, when
PennFuture formally filed a petition with the Pennsylvania Environmental
Quality Board (EQB) on behalf of 10 public health, sporting, women's rights
and environmental and conservation organizations, asking the EQB to enact a
regulation requiring coal-fired power plants to reduce their mercury
emissions by 90 percent. Today nearly 70 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, have
joined in this vital effort.
Toxic mercury pollution from power plants threatens the health of women
and their babies. More than 600,000 women of childbearing age nationwide
have amounts of mercury in their blood over the level set as safe by the
Environmental Protection Agency and the National Academy of Sciences.
Unsafe levels of mercury in mothers' blood and breast milk can interfere
with the proper development of babies' brains and neurological systems and
can lead to learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, problems
with coordination, lowered IQs and even mental retardation.
PennFuture is a statewide public interest membership organization that
advances policies to protect and improve the state's environment and
economy. With offices in Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and West
Chester, PennFuture's activities include litigating cases before regulatory
bodies and in local, state and federal courts, advocating and advancing
legislative action on a state and federal level, public education and
assisting citizens in public advocacy.
SOURCE Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture)