Pennsylvania, A Major Coal Producing State, Considers Stringent Mercury Emissions Cutback for Utilities


According to the Associated Press: "Pennsylvania's coal-fired power plants would have to cut mercury emissions by 90 percent within a decade under a plan that would make the state the first major coal producer with stricter mercury regulations than the federal government"..."Four other states regulate mercury emissions, but none of them produces more coal than Pennsylvania, the nation's fourth-largest coal producer after Wyoming, West Virginia and Kentucky"... "Pennsylvania, also one of the nation's top power-producing states, generated 5.7 tons of airborne mercury in 2003, second-most in the country, according to federal data. About three-fourths of that airborne mercury came from the state's three dozen coal-fired power plants, according to the figures". Can we guess which interest group has characterized this as "overzealous environmental regulation?"

We give this one low odds for passage, given the legislative history in all coal producing states. Yet, there may be unintended but important millinary consequences (per the photo). The "nay" voters in the State's Legislature will be able to strut confidently with their Mad Hatter variety of top hat (advance orders taken here), enabling voters to readily grasp the thinking of those who represent them.

However, those representatives who voted in favor of passage, having been thoughtful about the prospects for "clean coal" technology in the state and in other states which consume Pennsylvania coal, and in consideration of the reproductive and neurological hazards of human mercury exposure, will be entitled to wear something a bit more up to date and less precarious looking.