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Mercury Announcement (12/15/00)

In one of the worse kept secrets in recent memory, lame duck EPA Administrator, Carol Browner announced on December 14th that she finds . . . "regulation of HAP emissions from coal- and oil-fired electric utility steam generating units under section 112 of the CAA is appropriate and necessary." EPA’s Federal Register notice as well as additional information can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/uatw/combust/utiltox/utoxpg.html#REG

In our brief review of the Federal Register announcement, RMB finds a number of troubling statements. Of course, EPA’s decision turns on the fact that coal-fired power plants are a significant source in mercury emissions in the United States and that a number of States have fish advisories for mercury. The problem with the Agency’s "connect the dot" logic is that, as EPA acknowledges, it does not know how much mercury in the fish consumed in the U.S is due to mercury emissions from power plants. It would seem to RMB that if EPA does not know where the mercury in fish is coming from, then how does the Agency know that reducing mercury emissions from power plants would reduce mercury in fish. Sure beats us!

Stay tuned from what promises to be an interesting and perhaps sometimes contentious rule making process.

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Last Revised: December 15, 2000