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Posted on Mon, Jan 2, 2012 : 8:09 a.m.

We get the gift of good health thanks to new EPA rule

By Letters to the Editor

On this holiday season, the Obama administration gave Michigan’s families the gift of good health. After decades of industry resistance and delay, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized on Dec. 21 a historic standard to protect the health of Michigan’s kids by limiting mercury and other toxic air pollution from power plants.

EPA’s safeguard will protect Michigan’s children from neurological damage, birth defects, and asthma attacks, and will save 11,000 lives nationwide every year.

Over 900,000 Americans submitted comments to EPA on the new standard - the most comments ever received for an EPA rule. President Obama and his administration are right to recognize this public support -- and the very real threats posed by mercury to our kids’ health and our environment -- by finalizing this historic standard this holiday season.

Jessica Surma
Ann Arbor


James Lewis II

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 11:07 a.m.

All of you who would support this regulation have a short sighted mentality.


Thu, Jan 5, 2012 : 3:10 a.m.

Now how about those pesky Asian Carp? If he would do something about that, I would vote for him.


Tue, Jan 3, 2012 : 1:40 p.m.

The Obama administration gave us this gift? Excuse me while I vomit in my own mouth and swallow. Maybe the 100,000 petitions had something to do with it, or congressional leaders, or our governor. Obama's always there to take credit and pass blame.

Kai Petainen

Tue, Jan 3, 2012 : 5:31 a.m.

<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> &quot;A lack of recycling options for the mercury-containing compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), touted by government as the environmentally friendly lighting alternative, has in part led to a delay in new federal energy efficiency regulations. The regulations, which ban 75- and 100-watt incandescent bulbs, were supposed take effect Jan. 1, 2012. Curran Faris thought he was helping the environment when he replaced most of the light bulbs in his home with CFLs. (CBC) But last month, the federal government quietly delayed that ban by two years, citing recycling issues and "perceived health effects." Health Canada document on CFL bulbs <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Tue, Jan 3, 2012 : 1:25 a.m.

@Mike, I don't understand your argument. Could you explain.. CFLs have what, about 4 milligrams, of mercury? As long as you don't eat your lightbulb, you'd be fine. But hey, on the other hand, US coal power plants send 33 tons of mercury into the air each year. And by the way, it wasn't the EPA that mandated energy efficiency standards that are affecting light bulbs. It was Congress, which passed a bill. It was signed by President George Bush.


Tue, Jan 3, 2012 : 2:13 a.m.

bhall and Mike - If you don't like CFLs you can use LEDs or oil lamps.


Tue, Jan 3, 2012 : 12:20 a.m.

Isn't this the same EPA that is mandating mercury filled light bulbs to replace safe incandescent light bulbs? Break a single fluorescent bulb in your house and you will expose your family to levels of mercury that is a thousand times higher than anything the EPA will accomplish with the new coal burning power plant regulations.


Mon, Jan 2, 2012 : 9:46 p.m.

This page has links to pdfs of the statewide mercury advisory, and the fish consumption advisory from the state Department of Community Health. The gist of it is that we can eat some local fish, but shouldn't eat too much, and the main reason is mercury contamination, largely from burning coal.

David Briegel

Mon, Jan 2, 2012 : 10:36 p.m.

Good thing it is &quot;Clean Coal&quot;. Imagine if it was &quot;Dirty Coal&quot;.


Mon, Jan 2, 2012 : 9:48 p.m.

<a href=",1607,7-132-54783_54784_54785---,00.html" rel='nofollow'>,1607,7-132-54783_54784_54785---,00.html</a>


Mon, Jan 2, 2012 : 5:12 p.m.

I am pleased with the goal. I dislike the uneven way it is being achieved. 27 states have to comply and 23 don't. The Midwest will see the greatest impact on electric generation. By 2016 we will see rolling blackouts, natural gas prices 40 to 60 percent higher than now and electricity prices that are 20 to 50 percent higher. If the EPA had coordinated the introduction of the rules and focused on an evenhanded implementation over a slightly longer period (say 2 years more) utilities could have adjusted to it with fewer impacts on electricity prices. Now we have a stay by the Federal Courts until the lawsuits are complete.


Thu, Jan 5, 2012 : 2:13 a.m.

Bhall, if I have confused the two items together, my apologies. It's what I get for trying to follow this thread, and as you can see from the timing of my posts, the sugar bowl at the same time.


Wed, Jan 4, 2012 : 6:09 a.m.

Oh man, arborcomment and Donbee, you folks are a hoot. You're confusing two rules, and arborcomment, your link only proves my point. 1) Mercury rule - nationwide 2) Cross state rule -- applies to two dozen states, affects particles and ozone. This is the rule in the link posted above by arborcomment (it's even named in the link, duh!), and is being contested in court. It has nothing to do with mercury and the letter posted above. Jeez. Why is this so hard?


Wed, Jan 4, 2012 : 3:43 a.m.

Donbee is correct. 27 states in, 23 out. Interesting parties in this case. Siding with Texas is an electrical workers union. Siding with EPA is the National Resource Council environmental group and one power company from... Chicago. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Tue, Jan 3, 2012 : 11:42 p.m.

bhall - You did not read the implementation and stays in the federal register did you? Try again. As to not impacting mercury, in most large power plants over 98 percent of Mercury is captured (where do you think the mercury for CFLs comes from?).


Tue, Jan 3, 2012 : 5:06 a.m.

And not to be the thread killer, but here's a great map of the affected facilities. Note the bunch in Texas. The map was produced in December. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Tue, Jan 3, 2012 : 4:44 a.m.

Text of actual rule. Note use of the word NATIONAL in its title. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> You might be intereted in page 36, because it describes why prior Clean Air Act rules did not reduce mercury and a federal standard that applies to all EGUs, or electric generating units greater than 25 mega-watts, was required. This is a big deal because this is the first national performance standard for mercury emissions. Of course, a few states had required mercury standards. The cyborg MItt Romney, under an earlier version of his computer programming, proposed mercury standards while governor of Massachusetts and said coal burning power plants &quot;kill people.&quot; But this fedral rule requires all plants to meet the same standard, based on their size/type/etc. If you know something the EPA -- as well as the advocates and the opponents -- do not know, please share... I'm sure they'd be all ears.


Tue, Jan 3, 2012 : 2:11 a.m.

bhall - Please take the time to read the regulations, not the press releases. There are 27 states named in both sets of regulations. The other 23 are not named. States like Texas, while named, have been granted wavers on both sets of regulations for when they have to comply. If you read thru the comments (I skimmed them for comments that were not the form letters that various groups got their members to send) you will find much more about impacts of these rules. But then it is easier to read a press release from the government or a booster organization and take that press release as what is in the regulation.


Tue, Jan 3, 2012 : 1:36 a.m.

@DonBee; That is incorrect. The Mercury and Air Toxics Rule is a nationwide rule. Plants have three years to comply, and the EPA is encouraging states, which implement Clean Air Act rules, to provide a fourth year. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>!OpenDocument The Cross State Air Pollution Rule, which targets ozone and particles, affects some states and not others. But if you do some research, you will find the states that are affected are generally ones that have not implemented their own more stringent standards. States like Massachusetts and Delaware already have tough standards; it is the states in the Midwest which have not been as tough, and have been sending their pollution downwind to the East Coast. So in a sense, the cross state rule is cost effective; if you are concerned about the health of population centers on the coast, and some pollution gets transported there downwind, it's a lot cheaper for the Midwest to control pollution than the coastal states to make even more cuts than they already have.


Mon, Jan 2, 2012 : 11:07 p.m.

I do, why do you ask?


Mon, Jan 2, 2012 : 9:46 p.m.

Those are pretty strong claims. Got evidence?


Mon, Jan 2, 2012 : 4:27 p.m.

Sounds like another &quot;sounds good&quot; bill from the government. Thank goodness mercury is finally under control......


Mon, Jan 2, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.

I will vote for any legislation that protects mother Earth and its inhabitants. We have nowhere else to go folks so the investment is well worth it. Funny how you have to fight republicans on issues protecting our planet.


Tue, Jan 3, 2012 : 12:22 a.m.

Hey Hank, I've got some really efficient mercury filled fluorescent light bulbs to sell you..

David Briegel

Mon, Jan 2, 2012 : 4:52 p.m.

Once Upon A Time Conservation was the conservative position. When did pillage and plunder become the conservative &quot;value&quot;?

David Briegel

Mon, Jan 2, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.

Now we will hear from all those people who will tell us how more mercury in our environment is good for us. How? We know we have to limit our great lakes fish intake because of mercury levels. Thank you Pres Obama. It is nice to know that you care about the 99%!


Tue, Jan 3, 2012 : 11:48 p.m.

Mike &amp; Sparty You are both behind the 8 ball. The incandescent bulb ban was lifted.


Tue, Jan 3, 2012 : 3:13 a.m.

Yes, President Bush signed the light bulb bill with large bipartisan support years ago. Obama is carrying out the republican president's law!


Tue, Jan 3, 2012 : 12:24 a.m.

Hey David, I've got some really efficient mercury filled light bulbs to sell you! President Hussien Obama is making them mandatory next year. Hope your children don't end up brain damaged.


Mon, Jan 2, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

Meanwhile, mercury dental fillings are still legal and dentists are threatened with losing their licenses by the ADA if they notice the obvious problem with this. Children are born mercury toxic because their mothers have these half-mercury &quot;silver&quot; fillings. Big Brother is not your friend.


Mon, Jan 2, 2012 : 4:59 p.m.

This is one of those situations where you have to use your brain. Does putting half a gram of the second most toxic element in each cavity in your mouth make any sense to you? When the government freaks out over mercury in any other context? Except CFL bulbs of course.


Mon, Jan 2, 2012 : 2:35 p.m.

As with the thermisol &quot;controversy&quot; , these claims are based on fear and deliberate misinformation, not peer reviewed science (see links below). BTW, dentists are licensed by their respective states, not the American Dental Association. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>