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Mercury A Problem in Pennsylvania


The largest source of mercury pollution in Pennsylvania is coal-fired power plants, which emit nearly 8,000 pounds of mercury into the environment every year.

The state of Pennsylvania receives barely passing grades for its efforts in reducing mercury pollution and exposure, according to a report released today by conservation organizations. Mercury in the Mid-Atlantic: Are States Meeting the Challenge? was released by the National Wildlife Federation, Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs (PFSC), Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture), and Clean Air Council (CAC). The groups give the state a grade of "D-" for its control of mercury air emissions and a "D" for controlling mercury releases from consumer products. The report graded the state in seven categories, with an overall score of "D" for Pennsylvania -- the lowest in the region.

Since 2001, Pennsylvania has had a statewide fish consumption advisory for mercury, covering 53,000 miles of rivers and over 160,000 acres of lakes. Many of Pennsylvania's officials, including Governor Rendell, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen McGinty, Attorney General Tom Corbett, and three of Pennsylvania's 19 U.S. Representatives, signed a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calling for strict federal regulations for mercury emissions from power plants.,

While Pennsylvania has not taken action to address power plant emissions of mercury, the state has taken a first step in the right direction to address the disposal of one mercury item -- auto switches. In November, Pennsylvania launched an innovative program designed to facilitate the removal of mercury-containing switches from cars, working with scrap dealers, the automotive recycling industry and Clean Air Council. New Jersey, for example, is the only state to control air emissions of mercury from coal-fired power plants -- the largest source of mercury air pollution in the country. New York has taken the most aggressive action in the region to control mercury releases from consumer products, as well as from dental products. For more information go to www.nwf.org/news.


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June 15, 2019, 10:23 pm PDT

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