Mercury and Air Toxics Rule

Post image for CEI’s Myron Ebell Discusses the Utility MACT Vote

CEI’s Myron Ebell appeared on E&E-TV this morning to discuss the upcoming vote on Senator Inhofe’s (R-OK) CRA vote to end the EPA’s mercury and air toxic’s rule. You can watch the video here. Here is a snippet of the conversation:

Monica Trauzzi: Myron, the Senate is expected to take up a measure this month that would change the future of EPA’s mercury and air toxics rule. There are two proposals that are actually being discussed on the Hill right now and the first is by Senator Inhofe and that would scrap the rule entirely. The second is by Senators Alexander and Pryor, and that would give utilities a little extra time to comply with the rule. What’s your take on the proposals and the overall impact on industry?

Myron Ebell: Well, first, the House has already passed legislation with a quite significant majority to block the utility MACT rule. Senator Inhofe’s resolution is brought under the Congressional Review Act and, therefore, it only requires a majority of those voting and it cannot be blocked by the Majority Leader or require a 60 vote, procedural vote. So, his is actually doable in the Senate. The Alexander Pryor legislation, I think Senator Alexander, who we might think of as the next Dick Lugar, is trying to provide cover for Democrats in tough election races to say that they’re voting for something that has absolutely no chance of passage, because their bill would take 60 votes, whereas Senator Inhofe’s much better resolution, which would block the rule entirely, only takes 50. The Alexander-Pryor legislation would only delay the implementation by a couple of years. So, instead of giving utilities four years, they would have six years in order to shut down their coal-fired power plants essentially.

Monica Trauzzi: But isn’t that a good thing? I mean couldn’t that help industry if they had a little extra time to comply and apply some of these technologies?

Myron Ebell: Sure, it could, but the fact is that there is no technology that will help these coal-fired power plants comply. So, we’re just essentially extending the killing off of coal-fired power plants. This bill has no chance of passage. That’s the key thing. It’s only being introduced to try to peel votes off of the Inhofe resolution.

Monica Trauzzi: So, you’re talking about the Alexander-Pryor bill?

Myron Ebell: Yes, it has, it would require 60 votes and there aren’t, if there aren’t 50 votes for the Inhofe resolution, there certainly aren’t going to be 60 for the Alexander bill.

Watch the rest here, or read the entire transcript here.

The Big Mercury Lie

by William Yeatman on January 4, 2012

Post image for The Big Mercury Lie

There’s a big lie making the rounds that EPA’s ultra-expensive new mercury regulation is worth the cost ($10 billion annually) because it will protect fetuses from developmental disorders.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is the most prominent perpetrator of the mercury lie. Recently, she gave a pep talk to a group of collegian environmental activists trying to shut down campus coal fired power plants, during which she said:

“It’s so important that your voices be heard, that campuses that are supposed to be teaching people aren’t meanwhile polluting the surrounding community with mercury and costing the children a few IQ points because of the need to generate power.  It’s simply not fair.”

Over at Think Progress Green, Brad Johnson does his part to spread mercury disinformation, by pooh-poohing Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Kentucky) for having claimed (correctly) that the mercury rule won’t have any benefit for babies and pregnant women. According to Johnson,

“The glimmer of fact in Whitfield’s claims is that the health costs of mercury poisoning of our nation’s children over decades of unlimited coal pollution are difficult to quantify. Mercury poisoning is rarely fatal and hard to detect, but causes undeniable, insidious developmental harm to fetuses and babies.”

Naturally, environmentalist special interests are the worst propagators of this mercury mendacity. The day that EPA Administrator announced the final mercury rule, Sierra Club launched a television advertisement depicting a little girl learning to ride a bike, while a voiceover states:

“When this little girl grows up her world will have significantly less mercury pollution because President Obama and the EPA stood up against polluters and established the first-ever clean air standards. This action means that our air, water, and food will be safer from mercury pollution and heavy metals generated by coal-fired power plants. Like you, President Obama understands that reducing toxic mercury pollution increases the possibilities to dream big.”

Global atmospheric mercury might or might not be a problem—I don’t know. But I do know that mercury emissions from U.S. coal fired plants pose a negligible danger to fetuses. And I know this because EPA told me so.

[click to continue…]