The following press release is the Sierra Club and Environment Virginia. Hmmmm…perhaps we should revise our slogan from “Dominion: Global Warming Starts Here” to “Dominion: Mercury Poisoning Starts Here?”
New Data Reveals the Heaviest Mercury Polluters in Virginia
Dominion is the biggest mercury polluter in the state; while American Electric Power (AEP) claims the title of biggest in the nation
ALEXANDRIA, VA – Today, representatives from Environment Virginia and the Sierra Club released new data on airborne mercury pollution emitted from coal-fired power plants throughout the nation with an emphasis on Virginia. The data reveals Dominion as the biggest mercury polluter in the state with a total of 491 pounds while American Electric Power (AEP) claims the title as biggest mercury polluter in the nation with 6,220 pounds emitted in 2010.
Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin that harms children and pollutes the environment. Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of mercury pollution in the country; emitting 2/3 of all airborne mercury pollution. Once in the air, mercury falls into waterways with rain or snow, where it builds up in fish and enters the food chain. Even a small drop of mercury is enough to make the fish in a 25-acre lake unsafe to eat.
“Parents in Virginia shouldn’t have to worry that their children’s bodies are toxic dumping grounds,” said Caroline Kory, State Associate for Environment Virginia. “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is moving forward to protect our children’s health from toxic mercury pollution, and we can’t let big polluters stand in the way.”
The data is part of an updated Environment Virginia report entitled Virginia’s Biggest Mercury Polluters that uses recently-released 2010 emissions data from the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory. The announcement comes as the EPA is set to finalize, as early as next week, one of the biggest safeguards in the last decade by limiting mercury and other toxic air pollution from power plants.
“Americans have been waiting over 20 years for limits on mercury pollution from power plants, but the coal lobby has blocked them every step of the way,” said Glen Besa, Sierra Club Virginia Chapter Director. “That’s why we are glad to see the EPA and the Obama Administration taking mercury pollution seriously by announcing new safeguards which will protect our health.”
In total, power plants in the U.S. emitted 66,050 pounds of mercury pollution into the air in 2010. Virginia ranked #27 out of all the states, emitting 659 pounds of mercury pollution. Dominion had the top 4 mercury emitting power plants in Virginia, and 9 of the top 17. AEP headed the national list of the top 25 mercury polluters emitting more than 1,635 pounds of mercury over the company in second place. If passed, the new EPA safeguard is predicted to reduce mercury in our air and water by over 90%, and save between 6,800 to 17,000 lives.
The entire report can be found at environmentamerica.org.