Thank you, sir, may I have another? | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thank you, sir, may I have another?

Posted By on Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 1:18 PM

According to a report released yesterday by the Environmental Integrity Project, coal-fired power plants in White Bluff and Independence rank in the nation's top 25 most toxic mercury polluters. Together, the plants emitted 1,141 pounds of mercury pollution in 2009. Lev Guter of the Sierra Club says Mercury pollution is a huge health risk.

“Coal plants put all Arkansans, especially infants and children, at risk of mercury’s devastating health effects,” said Lev Guter, Sierra Club organizer. “This report shows that Arkansas has two enormous emitters of mercury right here in our backyards. Powering our homes should not come at the cost of poisoning the children inside those homes.”

And we want to build another one of these things in Hempstead County. Full release on the jump.

New Report: 2 Arkansas Coal-fired Power Plants in Nation’s Top 25 Most Toxic Mercury Polluters by Total Pounds

Little Rock, AR — Arkansas has two power plants that rank in the top 25 worst mercury polluters by total pounds in the nation, according to a new Environmental Integrity Project report released yesterday, “America’s Power Plant Mercury Polluters: The Good, the Bad, and the Dirty.” The analysis shows that the Independence and White Bluff coal plants collectively emitted 1,141 pounds of toxic mercury pollution in the year 2009.

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that puts pregnant women at-risk for birth defects in their children including learning disabilities, developmental disorders, and lower IQs. One in six American women has mercury levels in her blood high enough to put her baby at risk, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“Coal plants put all Arkansans, especially infants and children, at risk of mercury’s devastating health effects,” said Lev Guter, Sierra Club organizer. “This report shows that Arkansas has two enormous emitters of mercury right here in our backyards. Powering our homes should not come at the cost of poisoning the children inside those homes.”

The Environmental Integrity Project report found that two electric power plants in Arkansas rank in the nation’s top 25 emitters of toxic mercury by total pounds, including the Independence Plant in Independence County (582 pounds of toxic mercury emissions in 2009), and White Bluff in Jefferson County (559 pounds).

Mercury pollution is emitted into the air from coal-fired power plants, then falls into waterways from rain or snow. Mercury is then known to build up in fish then the animals—and people—that consume the fish, putting them at risk for reproductive failure and mortality. Studies suggest that even a gram-sized drop of mercury can contaminate an entire 20 acre lake.

The report comes as the U.S. EPA is set to propose a new standard to limit mercury and other toxic air pollution from power plants, in March. Grassroots environmental groups including the Environmental Integrity Project and the Sierra Club are calling on the EPA to issue strong health protections that will reduce toxic mercury emissions from power plants by more than 90%.

The report can be found at: http://www.environmentalintegrity.org/01_26_2011.php

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