NRCM will fight for Maine kids
Statement by Brownie Carson, NRCM executive director
“The Environmental Protection Agency has dishonored its name and ignored its responsibility by allowing lax controls on the mercury pollution from coal burning power plants that poison Maine children and wildlife.
“A dark cloud hangs over Washington, DC. The Bush Administration has ignored the advice of physicians, scientists and state officials, and chosen to let power plants generate three times more mercury pollution over the next fifty years than would be allowed under the Clean Air Act.
“The Bush EPA has chosen to delay mercury cleanup for a decade longer than the Clean Air Act requires, and to allow mercury ‘hot spots’ to form downwind from polluting power plants, in places like Maine. The Bush Administration’s proposal to trade mercury pollution between power plants absolutely fails to protect children’s health. They know it. We know it. Why are they lying to us?
“Like the rest of the nation, Mainers want and deserve clean rivers and lakes, with fish that can be safely eaten. The EPA’s rollback has put that goal out of reach for decades to come, and the safety of the nation’s children that much more at risk. Coal-burning power plants are the largest single source of mercury pollution in Maine and the country.
“For the price of one cup of coffee per household per month, our nation could reduce toxic mercury pollution by 90% as the Clean Air Act intended, but this was too high a price for the Bush Administration when it comes to our children’s health. The cost in Maine would be just four cents a month added to the average household electric bill.
“Given the threat to our children it’s remarkable that the Bush Administration has sided with those who would poison our kids. EPA itself now estimates that each year 630,000 babies are at risk for lowered intelligence and learning problems due to mercury exposure in utero. Eating mercury-contaminated fish is the number one source of exposure even as expectant mothers are advised, for good reason, to eat fish for its high protein content and other exceptional nutritional benefits. Mercury is a dangerous toxin that can affect the way children think, learn and grow.
“Our children deserve better. The technology is available and in use today to protect our kids and reduce mercury emissions 90% by 2008. We at the Natural Resources Council will continue the fight – in the courts, the statehouse and Washington – until coal-burning power plants no longer poison future generations of Mainers.”