Pennsylvania to issue new mercury limits

February 22, 2006

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection reportedly plans to order a substantial cut in toxic mercury emissions from coal-burning plants.

The new regulation would make Pennsylvania the fifth state -- and one the first major coal-producing states -- to order mercury emissions reductions stricter than those set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Wednesday.

The Pennsylvania plan would require coal-fired plants to reduce mercury emissions by 80 percent within four years and 90 percent by 2015. The U.S. EPA wants a 70 percent cap on emissions by 2018, although full compliance is not expected until years later, the newspaper said.

"The federal rule is woefully inadequate in protecting public health," DEP Secretary Kathleen McGinty told the Inquirer.

Pennsylvania's 36 coal-fired power plants produce most of the state's 5.7 tons of mercury emitted each year, placing the state second, behind Texas, in the amount of mercury emissions.

Mercury occurs naturally in coal and is released into the atmosphere when the coal is burned. As the mercury particles fall into water, they are converted into a more toxic form and then enter the food chain through freshwater fish.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Stanford professor discusses techniques for minimizing environmental impacts of fracking

Related Stories

Giant new plant shows coal power isn't going away

March 7, 2012

The Prairie State power plant, set amid farm fields and woods in southwestern Illinois, will start producing power soon, beginning a life of burning local coal that's expected to last until at least the 2040s.

Recommended for you

Fish that have their own fish finders

August 4, 2015

The more than 200 species in the family Mormyridae communicate with one another in a way completely alien to our species: by means of electric discharges generated by an organ in their tails.

New biosensors for managing microbial 'workers'

August 4, 2015

Super productive factories of the future could employ fleets of genetically engineered bacterial cells, such as common E. coli, to produce valuable chemical commodities in an environmentally friendly way. By leveraging their ...

Will SETI's unprecedented new program finally find E.T.?

August 4, 2015

Stephen Hawking, Frank Drake and dozens of journalists gathered at the Royal Society in London last week to hear astronomers announce a ground-breaking new project to search for intelligent extraterrestrial life called "Breakthrough ...

Fast times and hot spots in plasmonic nanostructures

August 4, 2015

The ability to control the time-resolved optical responses of hybrid plasmonic nanostructures was demonstrated by a team led by scientists in the Nanophotonics Group at the Center for Nanoscale Materials including collaborators ...

A novel toxin for M. tuberculosis

August 4, 2015

Despite 132 years of study, no toxin had ever been found for the deadly pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which infects 9 million people a year and kills more than 1 million.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.