Advertise:   712.224.5420

Report: EPA's mercury proposal biased towards industry

Environmental Protection Agency senior management manipulated a rule aimed at limiting mercury pollution to favor the Bush administration's pro-industry "Clear Skies" initiative, the agency's inspector general said in a report on Thursday.

The report said scientists were given a pre-determined pollution limit and then told to work backwards. The goal was to show that coal-fired power plants could comply with the Bush initiative without having to install costly pollution-fighting equipment, the report said.

EPA officials and the industry disputed the report. They said the inspector general doesn't have the expertise necessary to understand the process. Mercury is a byproduct by coal-burning power plants that poses a number of health risks, especially on young children and pregnant women.

The Clear Skies initiative has been stalled in Congress. It is based on a "cap-and-trade" system whereby the entire industry has to meet a pollution standard rather than individual power plants.

Get the Story:
EPA Inspector Finds Mercury Proposal Tainted (The Washington Post 2/4)
E.P.A. Accused of a Predetermined Finding on Mercury (The New York Times 2/4)

Get the Report:
Additional Analyses of Mercury Emissions Needed Before EPA Finalizes Rules for Coal-Fired Electric Utilities | Inspector General Statement

Relevant Links:
Inspector General, EPA -

Related Stories:
EPA to delay regulations on mercury emissions (04/30)
EPA drafts new rules to reduce air pollution (12/05)
Bush administration proposes to ease mercury rules (12/3)
Tribes mull toxic fish study findings (8/1)
Toxic fish threaten tribal subsistence (7/31)