The Countertop Chronicles

"Run by a gun zealot who's too blinded by the NRA" - Sam Penney of

Saturday, August 07, 2004

The Mercury Is Rising
Or Is It?

South Knox Bubba continues to buy into the NRDC's latest fraud - that mercury from power plants is a health issue. Like so many other liberals, he and his readers continue to ignore the power of reality as they preach from the altar of environmental religon.

The latest salvo is an attack on the Knoxville News Sentinal for daring to provide industry an opportunity to express its views in an article on local Tennessee water quality.
The KNS is so far up TVA's ass they are tasting Brylcreem (with apologies to Junior Soprano). Cap-and-trade nonsense aside, you'd think the KNS would be more concerned about their local environment and its habitants who buy their newspaper.

Aside from the fact that for 14 years the environmentalist have been praising the effectiveness of Cap and Trade as an efficient means for reducing pollution, the left really doesn't seem to care about things like the truth as they continue to slander defame Bush and Republicans over their views on the environment.

I've commented on this a number of times at SKBs web page. As I commented recently at South Knox Bubba, here are some important things to remember the next time someone starts talking about mercury (and its going to be happening alot! this fall).

1. There is no authority (none, nada, zip) in the Clean Air Act to regulate mercury emissions in anything other than a cap and trade manner (and I don't think that isn't even allowed. Section 112n regulates emissions from Electric Utilities and under it, mercury must be regulated using an alternative control technology. Alternative control technology is not defined in the act. Rather, the only description comes from the legislative history were in multiple floor statement during the debate over the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, it is referred to as anything not utilizing emission scrubbers)

2. Any data on health risks associated with mercury are unreliable since the reference dose the environmentalist's warnings are based upon comes from a flawed study (Faros Islands) that failed to control for the presence of adversly high levels of PCBs in the sample. The only reliable study so far, from the Seychelles Islands, was not used as the basis in setting the reference dose by EPA because in their view it didn't return the results they were hoping for (thats how EPA justified their decisions). It should also be pointed out that the WHO, ATSDR, and FDA all disagree with EPA on the reference dose issue and instead calculate health risks based upon a tolerance level over twice as high. I should also point out that mercury isn't the concern, rather its methylmercury.

3. Regulation of US power plants will have ZERO impact on mercury levels in domestic waterways because 1)the vast vast vast majority of mercury is naturally occuring (oceans, volocanos, and forest and other bio mass fires), 2) the vast vast vast majority of anthropogenic mercury floats into the U.S. from China, 3) US power plants emit a minute amount of mercury (total aggregate emissions of ALL power plants are about 49 tons, or only 800 gallons), 4) and the vast vast vast vast majority of US power plant mercury emissions don't fall domestically, but rather fall into the ocean. Its also worth noting that of the mercury that falls locally (the so called Hot Spot issue - the science is pretty sketchy on whether and at what rate these heavier mercury molecules actually methylize(sp) and whether they are indeed consumed by aquatic species).

There is another GIANT problem with efforts to regulate mercury as well (concerning the process that has occurred). Many of my readers are aware of what it is, others might not be. For a number of reasons, I am not going to get into it here, but expect to see the issue continue to play out in a more public manner this fall (and no, this isn't some Josh Marshall never to come to fruition prophecy).


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