Sunday, February 10, 2008

Court rejects Bush's mercury emissions trading plan

clipped from www.latimes.com
WASHINGTON --
New coal-fired power plants could have to include strict controls to keep mercury out of the air in the wake of a federal court ruling Friday. A three-judge appeals panel struck down a market-based effort by the Bush administration that would have allowed some generators of electricity to buy their way out of meeting their pollution-reduction targets.
The appeals panel's unanimous decision said that the administration violated the Clean Air Act in 2005 when it established a national cap for mercury emissions and permitted power plants running on coal or oil to purchase credits from less-polluting plants.
Environmentalists criticized the so-called cap-and-trade approach for mercury because the neurotoxin tends to accumulate near its source, rather than dispersing like other pollutants that have been regulated under similar mechanisms.
Coal-fired power plants, which provide half of America's electricity, are major sources of mercury, as well as of sulfur and carbon dioxide.
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