The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) has told the Environmental Protection Agency to make sure that any program to control mercury plant emissions be based upon the best scientific data available. The comments were made in response to EPA’s determination at the end of the Clinton Administration that mercury emissions pose significant hazards to public health and that, for the first time ever, the agency would require reductions of mercury emissions from coal-fired plants. Regulations will be proposed by 2003 and final rules adopted by 2004.
A National Academy of Sciences report issued a year ago indicated the risk of adverse health effects from exposure to mercury is low for the majority of the American public. EEI urged EPA to maintain its commitment to resolving key scientific and technological issues, but warned it is critical for the agency to make sound decisions because of the strict rulemaking process. The power plant controls that have significantly reduced emissions of SO3, particulate matter and NOx have also reduced mercury releases.