HARRISBURG, Pa., April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Citizens for Pennsylvania's
Future (PennFuture) today launched a statewide campaign to stop mercury
pollution with graphics and a new website, "ProtectBabies.org," designed to
show legislators and their constituents what's at stake in the fight to
reduce mercury from Pennsylvania's coal-fired power plants.
(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20060425/PHTU035LOGO )
"If the Pennsylvania legislature succeeds in killing the Department of
Environment Protection's (DEP) state-specific rule that requires our
coal-fired power plants to clean up 90 percent of their toxic mercury
pollution by 2015, Pennsylvania's babies and their families will pay the
price," said Jan Jarrett, vice president of PennFuture.
The new PennFuture website, http://www.protectbabies.org, provides a
one-stop home for citizens who want to take action on mercury. Thousands of
posters and stickers with the website and the slogan, "Stop Mercury
Pollution - Every Baby Deserves a Great Start," are being distributed
across the state, with special attention to the districts of the sponsors
of the legislation to kill DEP's planned mercury rule.
The legislation in both the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (HB
2610) and the Pennsylvania Senate (SB 1201) that would stop this important
regulation comes after a 20-month process involving industry, public health
experts, environmental groups and myriad other organizations and
individuals that resulted in DEP's decision to propose a new mercury rule.
The rule is necessary because the federal rule, which Pennsylvania and 13
other states, four Native American tribes and five environmental groups
have challenged in court as illegal, could result in little appreciable
mercury clean-up in Pennsylvania. While the federal rule would take 24
years to achieve less mercury clean-up, the Pennsylvania proposal would
mean 90 percent clean-up by 2015.
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.
Pennsylvania power plants are the second biggest emitters of toxic
mercury pollution in the country. The Fish and Boat Commission has issued
advisories that cover every lake, river and stream in the state that warns
people to limit eating fish caught here.
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 more than 60 organizations including the Pennsylvania Federation
of Sportsmen's Clubs, the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association, the
Pennsylvania Parent Teacher Association, the Learning Disabilities
Association and the Pennsylvania Council of Churches have joined in this
PennFuture is a statewide public interest membership organization that
advances policies to protect and improve the state's environment and
economy. PennFuture has offices in Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and
SOURCE Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture)