Dear Governor: “More Mercury Protection Please”
Albany, NY - Strong anti-pollution standards should be set in stone -- and in cement, too. That's the cry from conservation groups, calling on New York to regulate mercury emissions from cement plants in the same way it regulates power plants. Cement production is concentrated in upstate areas, where three major kilns account for one-third of the state's dangerous mercury emissions. Susan Falzon with Friends of Hudson says it's time for New York to place mercury emissions standards on the industry.
"With the Governor's record of concern about mercury pollution, this is a wonderful opportunity for New York State to once again to take the lead in protecting mothers and children."
Keri Powell, an attorney with Earthjustice, agrees: the Governor has the authority to combat mercury pollution from New York cement kilns, and he needs to use it.
"The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) already has the authority under state regulations to impose a mercury limit, and we think it is important that the public know how harmful these emissions are."
Powell explains that one plant in New York underreported its mercury emissions by as much as ten times, and these levels of pollution hurt mothers and children.
"Mercury is a very powerful neurotoxin and is dangerous for young children. It can lead to a poor attention span, delayed language development, impaired memory and vision problems."
The cement industry argues it is obeying current rules, and that further regulation would be costly and ineffective. Health warnings have been issued for 85 different waterways in New York, including the Hudson River, where mercury-contaminated fish are considered dangerous enough that they're not recommended for consumption by pregnant women.