Michigan scientists support federal rules limiting mercury emissions

Apr 5, 2012

More than a hundred scientists from Michigan are supporting a federal standard that would limit the amount of mercury coal plants could emit.

The State of Michigan already has set some limits. But a major portion of the mercury that ends up in Michigan comes from coal plants in other states.

There are some U.S. Senators trying to stop federal regulators from implementing the rules. They say the regulations will hurt the economy.

Nil Basu is with the University of Michigan’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences.

“Amongst the scientist there’s really no debate about this. We know that mercury is harmful; it’s harmful for our environment and for our health,” Basu said.

The Environmental Protection Agency says the new standards will save lives.

Mercury is a neurotoxin that’s especially bad for kids. It can affect their memory, attention, language and motor skills. Most of the mercury released into the atmosphere comes from coal plants. Basu and more than a hundred other scientists from universities throughout the state are urging Michigan’s congressional delegation to support the rule.