Monday, December 11, 2006

Mercury Poisoning Risk Two to Three Times Higher

Mercury emissions from coal burning power plants in Colorado are two to three times higher than reported in the past, according to the utilities themselves.

That's right, according to Xcel Energy, Tri-State Generation, Platte River Power Authority, and other utilities in Colorado, their smokestacks have been spewing out more mercury in Colorado than anyone ever thought. While this raises serious questions over whether Colorado utilities have been lying about their past mercury emissions, most importantly it draws a stark and disturbing picture of the state of our environment.

Mercury of course is an incredibly potent neurotoxin that threatens developing fetuses and children more than anyone else. Perfectly healthy mothers can give birth to disabled children due to mercury exposure. If mercury emissions are two to three times higher, that means the risk of mercury poisoning is higher than we ever thought. And while Colorado communities are clearly at greater risk, communities downwind of Colorado also stand to bear the brunt of increased mercury poisoning risk.

Utility companies in Colorado are arguing that since their mercury emissions are higher than thought, they should be allowed to release more mercury. Can you believe this? Anybody else would say that since mercury emissions are higher, there should be higher reductions.

Is it really possible that Colorado utilities are arguing that they should be allowed to poison our environment and children more than ever? While shocking, this appears to be the case.


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