Carper Statement on Administration’s Proposed Mercury Changes

WASHINGTON– In response to reports that the Bush Administration is considering weakening limits on mercury emissions from power plants, Senator Tom Carper, D-Del., released the following statement: “I am deeply troubled by news reports today that the Environmental Protection Agency plans to weaken the Clean Air Act and its controls on mercury emissions from power plants.” “In a 1998 report to Congress, the EPA identified mercury emitted from power plants as a hazardous pollutant with the greatest potential to harm public health. Currently, some 41 states, including Delaware, have fish consumption advisories because of high levels of mercury in lakes and rivers. Such contamination poses a serious health risk to children and pregnant women, eight percent of which currently have mercury blood levels that exceed federal safety guidelines, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control.” “Given that, I find it hard to believe that the administration would actually propose weak mercury standards. We need to move aggressively to reduce mercury emissions by 80 or 90 percent over the next decade. Anything less than that is unacceptable. I look forward to receiving information from the administration justifying this troubling proposal.” Senator Carper is the author of the Clean Air Planning Act, which he introduced along with Senators Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I., Judd Gregg, R-N.H., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., earlier this year. That legislation would reduce emissions of mercury, currently reported at 48 tons, to below 24 tons by 2009 and 10 tons by 2013.