Monday, February 17, 2020

Mercury is a known health danger. Trump wants you exposed to more of it.

Trump the Unbalanced Destroyer wants what used to be the Environmental Protection Agency - - now run by a former coal industry lobbyist - - to allow larger mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Even though even electrical power generators are among the rule change's widespread opponents.
The EPA is about to change a rule cutting mercury pollution. The industry doesn’t want it.
Despite a chorus of opposition from unions, business groups and electric utilities, the EPA is on the verge of finalizing its proposal as part of a broader effort to overhaul how the government calculates the health benefits of cleaner air. Coal executives have lobbied for it, arguing it represented one of the worst excesses of what President Trump calls “the war on coal.” 
The agency plans to declare that it is not “appropriate and necessary” for the government to limit harmful pollutants from power plants, even though every utility in America has complied with standards put in place in 2011 under President Barack Obama.
I've been reporting on the extent of known mercury contamination in Wisconsin, so check out the data and ask yourselves if more of this known hazard fits your diet, your kids' health and your definition of environmental protection?
Smoke stacks from a factory.
The Trump administration is expected to roll back an Obama-era regulation to limit dangerous heavy metals like arsenic, lead and mercury from coal-fired power plants, according to two people familiar with the plans. 
With a series of new rules expected in November, the Environmental Protection Agency will move to weaken the 2015 regulation by relaxing some of the requirements on power generators and also exempting a significant number of power plants from even those requirements.
I have been tracking here this intentionally-damaging assault on water, the environmental and public health, and call attention to the known Wisconsin data:
Earlier [in 2018], I posted information which is still on a US EPA website about the extent of waterway impairment in Wisconsin as of 2016, including impairment caused by mercury, and I noted this at the time.
I was struck by the persistent presence of mercury and the growth of phosphorous contamination in the few categories I pulled out - - the latter not surprising because under Walker the state relaxed the time frame in which phosphorous discharges were to be addressed.
Here are some of the key data about known mercury contamination in Wisconsin - - and since we know what goes out of smokestacks comes down - - so you have to ask yourself in light of Trump's support for making it more likely that these and other numbers nationally will go up: Isn't this enough?

, Rivers and streams, Mercury.color.gif 888.2

Great Lakes Shorelines, miles, 259.4.

Lakes, reservoirs and ponds acres, 284,275.

Bays and estuaries, Square miles, 6,067.


Also: There will be more dangerous contaminates released if/when metallic mining is unleashed in the nightmarish proposal along the Michigan side of the Menominee River (which flows into Wisconsin waterways downstream), and under Walker and Tom Tiffany's legislation.


Unknown said...

Trump is not the only one who wants you exposed to more mercury. Michigan's Dept. of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) has recently issued a wetlands permit to a Canadian exploration company (Aquila Resources) that will allow the discharge of sulfates from the proposed Back Forty metallic sulfide mine that can stimulate the conversion of mercury into methyl mercury. Bacteria that are common in wetlands and lakes transforms the heavy metal deposited by air into something that can be transported up the food chain - from micro-organisms to fish to pregnant women. The sulfate discharges into the water, the sulfur compounds into the air, the mercury into both air and water, plus flooding and destruction of wetlands, creates the perfect storm to produce huge increases in the amount of methymercury in fish as a result of bioaccumulation from the very smallest organisms in the water up to the largest fish can result in an increasing concentration of a million times. And we, human beings, as well as wildlife -we;re at the top of the food chain. And the fetus is at least 5 times more sensitive to the effects of mercury as an adult.

EGLE's wetland permit allows for increases in sulfate and toxic metals that harm fish and human health but also risk increasing toxic mercury for downstream communities, including Green Bay and eventually into Lake Michigan.

Al Gedicks, Executive Secretary, Wisconsin Resources Protection Council

Mary Kay Baum said...

Thank you James Rowen and also Al Gedicks for your keeping us alert... ready for action.