May 26, 2006
NY Proposes New Mercury Standard
The NY Times reported today that NY governor George Pataki has proposed one of the most stringent mercury standards in the nation for electric power plants:
Under the draft proposal, New York would cut the level of mercury from electricity-generating stations in half by 2010. By 2015, the new state mercury standard would be toughened further, requiring a 90 percent reduction from current levels.
The state rule would be significantly more restrictive than a federal mercury standard set last year by the Bush administration. Under the federal rule, power plants must decrease mercury emissions 70 percent by 2018. Another major difference is that the federal plan allows generators to trade pollution credits, while New York's does not.
If the state's new mercury rule is carried out, it would complete a far-ranging and comprehensive set of controls over the four most damaging air pollutants from power plants. A 2003 state program curtails nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide, which cause acid rain. Late last year, seeing the federal inaction on global warming, New York and six other northeastern states joined together to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the heat-trapping gases that contribute to climate change.
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