Friday, September 16, 2005

Fretting Mercury (Continued)

This is a bit of a bummer--six Demcrats helped retain BushCo's desired mercury ruling; from Bush Greenwatch:

The nation's environmental health protections suffered a severe setback this week when six Democratic Senators joined 45 Republicans to defeat an effort to overturn the Bush Administration's new rule regulating mercury emissions.

Health experts assert that the new EPA rule, which institutes a "cap-and-trade" system for mercury emissions, will cause dangerous hot spots of mercury pollution in regions where a power plant can buy pollution "credits" rather than reduce its emissions.

Democrats joining in the 51-47 vote against repealing rule included Senators Max Baucus (MT); Robert Byrd (WV); Kent Conrad (ND); Byron Dorgan (ND): Ben Nelson (NE); Mark Pryor (AR).
The federal government, along with 44 states, has already issued warnings about consuming fish contaminated with mercury. Women of childbearing age, infants and young children are most at risk from exposure to the neurotoxin. Elevated levels of mercury can harm brain and nervous system development in children and developing fetuses (from EPA site).

The resolution to rescind the mercury rule was co-sponsored by Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy (VT) and Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins.

The Senate vote may not mark the end of the issue. Several lawsuits challenging various aspects of the Administration's mercury policy are pending in the federal courts.


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