PennFuture Calls Bush Mercury Regulations 'Toxic News for Pennsylvania;' Asks for State Action to Protect Citizens' Health, Environment, Economy From Poisonous Mercury

Mar 14, 2005, 00:00 ET from PennFuture

    HARRISBURG, Pa., March 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Citizens for Pennsylvania's
 Future (PennFuture) today called the Bush Administration's plan to allow
 polluters to trade mercury credits "toxic news for Pennsylvania," and called
 on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to
 immediately begin regulating poisonous mercury emissions from the state's
 power plants.
     "The Bush administration seems willing to play poison roulette with our
 families' lives and health," said Charles McPhedran, senior attorney at
 PennFuture.  "Pennsylvania's utilities are third in the nation in spewing
 toxic mercury into our air, streams and food; yet the federal government's
 plan would let that continue, as long as mercury is cleaned up somewhere else.
 Trading pollution credits makes no sense when dealing with such deadly stuff -
 Pennsylvanians need mercury cleanup now."
     In August 2004, PennFuture was joined by health care professionals, other
 environmental organizations and labor, sporting and women's rights groups in
 filing a petition with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
 (DEP) asking the state to require power plants to reduce their mercury
 emissions by 90 percent by 2007.  A proposed rule in response to that request
 is expected in May from DEP's Environmental Quality Board, which is appointed
 by Governor Rendell.
     "Clearly, we can't depend on the federal government to protect the health
 of our children and grandchildren," said Jan Jarrett, PennFuture
 Vice-President.  "One in six women of childbearing age has so much mercury in
 her body that her nursing infant or fetus is in danger of brain damage.  Our
 state's streams and fish are so contaminated with mercury that Pennsylvanians
 have been warned to restrict their consumption of fish to avoid being
     "Governor Rendell can show leadership by adopting state regulations of
 mercury that genuinely protect the public health," said Jarrett.  "He has a
 golden opportunity to take action just as New Jersey, Massachusetts,
 Connecticut and Wisconsin are doing.  Our children deserve this protection."
     In 2001, the Keystone plant in Shelocta (Armstrong County) had the highest
 releases of mercury and mercury compounds to the air of any electric utility
 plant in the country.  In 2002, Pennsylvania utilities were third in the
 nation with 6,986 pounds of mercury and mercury compounds emitted into the
 air.  In addition to its health and environmental effects, mercury
 contamination of Pennsylvania fish also has negative impacts for our fishing
 industry, which a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and
 Natural Resources estimates has a direct economic impact of $800 million each
     The mercury request was filed on behalf of PennFuture and its members,
 Pennsylvania State Building and Construction Trades Council, Pennsylvania
 Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, Pennsylvania Trout, Pennsylvania National
 Organization for Women (NOW), Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates,
 Women's Law Project, WomenVote PA, PennEnvironment and Sierra Club
 Pennsylvania Chapter.
     PennFuture's filing and additional petitioner information are available
 online at

SOURCE PennFuture