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EPA Sets New Limits on Power Plant Emissions


Smoke stack - cropped

For years I have been telling people that compact florescent light bulbs are safer environmentally than incandescent bulbs! Why? Because the extra electricity it takes to run the incandescent bulbs assures that more than the amount of mercury in the CFLs will be put into the air via our grid-based, electric generation system. That is to say, coal burning power plants emit a lot of mercury into our atmosphere. Isn’t that sick?

Well thankfully I will need to rethink how to promote CFLs now that the EPA has announced new legislation to limit mercury and other toxins emitted by power plants.

Here’s what EPA head Lisa Jackson proudly announced at Children’s National Medical Center yesterday in Washington, DC.

“I am glad to be here to mark the finalization of a clean air rule that has been 20 years in the making, and is now ready to start improving our health, protecting our children, and cleaning up our air. Under the Clean Air Act these standards will require American power plants to put in place proven and widely available pollution control technologies to cut harmful emissions of mercury, arsenic, chromium, nickel and acid gases. In and of itself, this is a great victory for public health, especially for the health of our children.”

Here are the new EPA standard (all 1117 pages), several very readable "Fact Sheet"  and other related documents.

Reducing mercury emissions is very important to us here in the Capital Region, especially in our Adirondack Park. Here are Mary Till’s comments in the Adirondack Almanack yesterday.   

Still, there is the energy issue – CFLs use one-third the energy and produce more light than incandescent bulbs! And there are more varieties than ever before. And for those that want to save even more energy, LEDs are making great progress…