PennFuture Calls State Senate's Passage of Toxic Mercury Bill a Tragic Mistake; Defeat for Pennsylvania's Families and Victory for Polluters Must Not Be Repeated by House
Vote out of Step with Four out of Five Pennsylvanians Who Want Strong
HARRISBURG, Pa., June 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture) today urged members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to reject all bills that would block the state's Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) proposed rules requiring coal-fired power plants to reduce their toxic mercury pollution by 90 percent by 2015. This call came after the State Senate's passage of one such bill, SB 1201, by a vote of 40 to 10, despite the fact that 80 percent of Pennsylvanians support DEP's proposal. (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20060425/PHTU035LOGO ) "This debate now goes to the House of Representatives where a critical decision about Pennsylvania's future will be made," said John Hanger, president and CEO of PennFuture. "The House can support the state rule and by doing so, keep Pennsylvania moving forward, or it can side with those who would drag us back." Mercury is a powerful neurotoxin that can interfere with the proper development of babies' brains and lead to learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder and delays in speaking and motor development. Pennsylvania power plants are the nation's second largest source of toxic mercury pollution and fish in lakes, rivers and streams statewide are contaminated with mercury. SB 1201 would stop the DEP mercury rulemaking and force Pennsylvania to fall back on an illegal federal rule that allows power plants to buy pollution allowances instead of installing pollution control equipment to actually clean up. Proponents of SB 1201 incorrectly claim that the federal rule will create nearly as much in mercury reductions as the state plan. But a Congressional Research Service study found that mercury emissions would be reduced by at most only 70 percent by 2030 because of the banking and trading scheme of the federal rule. A poll recently conducted by Madonna Opinion Research shows that 80 percent of Pennsylvanians want mercury pollution cut at every power plant and do not want a system that allows plants to buy pollution allowances rather than cleaning up, as the federal rule would do. "The senators who voted no despite the enormous pressure put on them by the polluters and their supporters should be proud that they stood tall," continued Hanger. "And DEP Secretary Kathleen McGinty should be extremely proud of her leadership for Pennsylvania's public health, environment and economy. History will show her as a courageous and visionary public servant." PennFuture is a statewide public interest membership organization with offices in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and the newly opened Center for Energy, Enterprise and the Environment in West Chester. PennFuture has been called "Pennsylvania's leading environmental organization" by The Philadelphia Inquirer.
SOURCE Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture)