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Hello friends,

If you have not already done so, please contact the DNR in support of a 90% mercury reduction rule for WI coal-fired power plants by the year 2010 - the public comment deadline is Mon. Oct. 15th. If you need more background information, please check the Wisconsin Stewardship Network website: Below is a copy of a model letter I recently sent on behalf of the Wisconsin Green


Thanks - John


Oct. 7, 2001

Jon Heinrich DNR - Air Management/7 P.O.Box 7921 Madison, WI 53707

RE: Mercury Air Emission Rule NR 446

Dear Mr. Heinrich,

The Wisconsin Green Party strongly urges the DNR to require a 90% reduction in mercury emissions from coal fired power plants by the year 2010. The tangible threat posed by continued mercury pollution in terms of human health, contaminated wildlife, and degraded water are serious and far outweigh the mitigation cost to industry. Besides, it is the DNR's mandate to safeguard Wisconsin's heritage and ensure the socially responsible use of natural resources - not excuse corporate profit at the public's expense. As you are probably well aware, coal-fired power plants are a primary culprit behind airborne deposition of mercury throughout the Great Lakes Basin. Once introduced into aquatic ecosystems, mercury remains a potent health threat as it bioaccumulates in fish, waterfowl, and other wildlife which are often consumed by humans. Certain groups such as children, women of childbearing age, sport anglers, and communities of color (Native Americans, Hmong) are most adversely affected by this neurotoxin. A recent National Academy of Sciences (NSA) study estimated up to 60,000 newborns nationwide suffer learning disabilities due to prenatal mercury exposure. The DNR has wisely recognized this ticking timebomb and issued fish consumption warnings for over 15,000 inland lakes throughout Wisconsin. But it now needs to take strong preventative action, as well.

The Wisconsin Green Party has grave concerns with several elements of the DNR's current mercury reduction plan. The proposed 2017 deadline for 90% reduction is too late - national legislation calls for a similar reduction by 2007 and pollution control specialists admit clean-up is entirely feasible by 2010. Just how utilities comply with the emission reduction has been left appropriately flexible - whether through investing in better pollution control technologies or implementing new energy conservation efforts. This flexibility, though, should NOT include pollution trading or product byback schemes. We can no longer allow dirty coal plants to pass the buck and sacrifice communities for the sake of "cheaper, cleaner" electricity elsewhere. They need to be held accountable for the local clean-up of their toxic fallout. Lastly, the DNR should not be influenced by industry rhetoric that compliance with this rule will jeopardize future energy reliability. If nothing else, confronting the true cost of coal may finally provide the necessary incentive for utilities to shift towards cleaner renewable sources and promote greater energy conservation.

Once again, the Wisconsin Green Party urges the DNR to adopt a stronger mercury emission rule, requiring a 90% reduction from coal fired power plants within the state by the year 2010. We look forward to hearing of your decision.


John E. Peck


Wisconsin Green Party

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