Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Mercury Day at EPA 

The EPA will be releasing their new regulations today regarding mercury emissions from power plants. The proposed rules met with many objections that the coal industry was largely calling the shots and that politics rather than science were the guiding force.

More information on mercury and the EPA can be found on EPA's mercury site. As of right now it hasn't been updated to reflect the final regulations being promulgated, but you can link to the proposed rules, public comments, etc., and I'm sure they'll have it updated shortly with the final regs.

Note also that a couple of weeks ago a new study was published which showed high levels of mercury in mountain dwelling birds in Vermonth. Prior to this study it was assumed that these birds would not have been affected by mercury pollution, as the focus has been on fish which accumulate mercury over time from polluted waters, and which then impact the food chain. These mountain birds are out of that particular branch of the chain, and it is thought that their contamination came from mercury particulates that settled on leaves, which are then consumed by insects, which are then consumed by birds.

Also of note to anyone interested in EPA and other federal agency regulations is Regulations.gov, a portal through which you can access proposed regulations which are currently open for public comment, and you can then submit your own comments through the site. It's really cool (if you're a legal geek - so, yeah, I think it's really cool) in that you can view regs by agency, by topic, by a display of regs published for comment today (be the first!), by a display of regs for which comments are due today (get in those last minute statements), or by a keyword search. You can then view the full text of the proposed reg in either PDF or HTML format. Each reg listing includes information on how to submit comments by mail or in person, plus if you click on the "Submit a Comment on This Regulation" heading to the section, you can see whether or not you can submit comments electronically.
UPDATE (8:05 pm): EPA hasn't yet updated their mercury site, but they have updated the home page to include links to the new rule page and their press release about the regulations.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:36 AM