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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Montana Ahead of the Game in Court Ruling on Mercury

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015   

HELENA, Mont. – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday the costs of implementing smokestack technology to control mercury pollution should have been considered by the EPA before the agency proceeded to draft its Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.

While the ruling means the agency has to rewrite some components of the air pollution regulations, the new rules for power plants will remain in effect while a lower court reviews the case.

Anne Hedges, director of the Montana Environmental Information Center, says it won't mean much to the state because newer controls were put in place in 2010.

"It's hard to imagine that if EPA goes back and determines whether it's economic to install mercury controls on power plants, they wouldn't look at places like Montana and say, 'They did it five years ago. Of course it's economic,'" she says.

Besides mercury, the rule intends to curtail emissions of arsenic, chromium and hydrochloric acid gas.

Hedges says for plants where the new technology has not been installed yet, the court's ruling could delay implementation – and that puts people at risk. Mercury is a neurotoxin connected to heart and asthma problems.

"People all over the country are breathing air from power plants next door, and they deserve cleaner air," she says.

The EPA estimates the pollution controls will prevent about 11,000 premature deaths every year.


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