Mercury Pollution

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We live in a country that is fueled by hyper-consumption. “Super-size me” is the slogan of this generation. Many companies have profited greatly from offering different sizes, or options, to Americans. Why? Most Americans seem to prefer the biggest sizes, the most amenities, the best of whatever is available. From gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles to television programming packages offering hundreds of channels, one thing evident in the USA: the bigger, the more, the better! Right? Unfortunately, it is this attitude that has placed our environment (and the citizens who live in it) in danger. Like its citizens, the federal government, or at least the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has slipped into an excess-based mindset that has allowed the proverbial “rich to get richer.” In this case, the EPA has passed legislation that, through loopholes, allows some of the largest corporate polluters of mercury emissions to continue polluting without decreasing the amount of mercury emissions. However, nine states have filed a lawsuit against the federal government citing that the new rule does not protect pregnant women and children from the mercury emissions in the air. The lawsuit comes after the EPA issued a final rule about the regulation of mercury pollution from power plants. Environmental advocates and many of the affected states, say the rule (the Clean Air Mercury Rule) is too weak and does not properly ensure the health and welfare of humans. The rule is focused on restricting the amount of mercury emissions coal-fired plants can release. Coal-fired plants are the nation’s largest remaining unregulated source of mercury emissions. (Krisberg, 2005) The EPA states that the rule will cap emissions at 15 tons annually by 2018, as opposed to the 48 tons a year the plants emit currently. According to Kim Krisberg from The Nation’s Health, the states argue that the rule is not only inadequate but “violates the 1990 Clean Air Act, ignores the...
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