Carper Says EPA’s Mercury Rule Not Strong Enough

Despite Support from Both Parties, Senate Fails to Overturn Controversial Rule

WASHINGTON (Sept. 13, 2005) – Despite support from Republicans and Democrats, the Senate today failed to overturn a controversial rule issued by the EPA earlier this year to control mercury emissions from power plants. Employing the seldom-used Congressional Review Act, a bipartisan group of senators, including Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., attempted to force the EPA to go back to the drawing board and issue a stronger mercury rule that better protects public health. The effort to overturn the rule failed on a 47-51 vote. The following is a statement from Sen. Carper on the vote today and his criticism of the EPA’s mercury rule: “I’m disappointed by today’s vote. The EPA and many in the electric power sector contend that a stronger mercury rule than what the agency proposed would drive up energy costs. They also contend that the technology doesn’t exist to mandate tighter controls on mercury. The truth is, we are developing new technologies to reduce mercury emissions, and they are already being employed on many of the nation’s power plants. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that affects the brain, the heart and immune system, particularly those of pregnant women and children. We shouldn’t have to choose between protecting public health and keeping energy costs low. We can do both. Unfortunately, EPA’s mercury rule doesn’t go far enough to protect public health. It’s my hope that we can address this issue again through comprehensive clean air legislation that mandates stronger, sensible mercury controls.”