Michigan is 10th nationally in mercury emissions, has 3 of the 100 dirtiest coal-fired power plants

A new report out today from Environment Michigan titled “Michigan’s Biggest Mercury Polluters” (pdf) shows that Michigan is tenth in the country for mercury emissions and has three of the top 100 most-polluting coal-fired power plants.

Their report shows that:

  • The Detroit Edison Monroe Power Plant in Monroe emitted the most mercury pollution of any power plant in Michigan in 2010, releasing 660 pounds.
  • The Monroe Plant ranked as the fourteenth most polluting power plant for mercury emissions in the nation.
  • Three of the top 100 most polluting power plants for mercury emissions in the country are located in Michigan.
  • Among all states nationwide, Michigan ranked tenth in terms of the total amount of airborne mercury pollution released by power plants – 2,253 pounds.

Here is a list of the top 11 (of 20) dirtiest power plants in Michigan and their national ranking:


Click for larger version

Here are the top ten in the country:

Mercury pollution may seem insignificant because you cannot see it and cannot taste it. The devastating health impacts don’t manifest themselves immediately. The most vulnerable population are children. From the report:

Mercury is a neurotoxicant. When children are exposed to mercury during critical periods of development, it can contribute to irreversible deficits in verbal skills, damage to attention and motor control, and reduced IQ.

In Michigan, 80% of the mercury emissions in 2010 came from coal-fired powered plants. Regulation of this pollutant is essential. Once again from the report:

Under the authority of the Clean Air Act, EPA has developed the first national standard limiting releases of mercury and other toxic air pollutants from power plants. As proposed in March, 2011, these standards will require power plant owners to cut overall emissions of mercury by more than 90 percent using widely available, proven pollution control technologies. The new emission standards will improve public health. EPA estimates that for every dollar spent to reduce pollution from power plants, the American public and American businesses will see up to $13 in health and economic

Unfortunately, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is joining with 24 other state attorneys general to fight the new mercury emission regulations. Unsurprisingly, these Republicans are putting financial concerns and business profits over the health and safety concerns of our most vulnerable populations.

Please join Environment Michigan and those who care about protecting our state’s citizens from mercury pollution by contacting Senator Debbie Stabenow and urge her to support this new standard to lower toxic mercury emissions. We must fight back against the Republicans and their powerful industrial allies to prevent them from stopping these essential new environmental regulations.

Cross-posted from Eclectablog.

I am a chemist by day and progressive liberal blogger by very early morning and very late night. I live just outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan with my lovely and talented photographer wife, Anne C. Savage. I am a vegetarian and an avid organic gardener who loves to cook. I'm heavily involved in county-level Democratic Party activities and am on the Washtenaw County Democratic Party Executive Board as co-vice chair for precinct organizing.
Chris Savage (aka Eclectablog)
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