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Re: [greenyes] FL Hg drop w/emissions/batteries reduction


I think the question of whether the emissions level is "safe" and how
the WTE industry might use the article misses some of the key points of
the article.

I see two points being made:

1. Mercury emissions appear to be more locally-generated than
regionally or globally-generated, which goes contrary to what has been
argued by those favoring EPA's proposed mercury rules and also supports
the concern that many have raised about how the proposed rules would
likely result in the creation of mercury "hot spots" where power plants
choose to buy credits rather than cut emissions.

2. The reductions were reportedly achieved by reducing the use of
mercury in batteries and by increasing regulations on incinerators by
requiring scrubbers.

So one major influence was product redesign (batteries) and another was
more controls on the incinerators. I don't see the WTE industry rushing
to embrace either of these very strongly, since neither seems to really
help support any argument that incineration is "safe."

I'm trying to track down the full article because I'd like to see what,
if any, of the reductions can be attributed towards keeping
mercury-containing products from entering the waste incinerators. My
understanding is that step, primarily through better management of waste
electronics, was a primary reason why mercury emissions declined
significantly from the Hennepin County waste incinerator located in
Minneapolis back in the late 1990's.

I'm guessing the WTE industry would not rush to embrace this either.

Mark Snyder
Pollution Prevention Specialist
Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance

>>> "Eric Lombardi" <eric@no.address> 8/9/2004 12:19:58 PM >>>
So does this mean that the emissions level are now "safe"? I can see
the
WTE industry taking this sort of "endorsement" for the new technology
to the
bank, but this article never addresses whether or not the "new and
reduced"
pollution levels are safe? (And please don't tell me there is "no
safe
level"... we have to do better than that.)

I am becoming increasingly alarmed at the momentum building supporting
the
"new waste-to-energy" technology. I was recently in Paris with a group
of
international Zero Waste experts, and we heard all about how clean the
new
plants are, and, how much better it is to create energy from waste than
it
is to invade Iraq.

Eric
Eco-Cycle

----- Original Message -----
From: "Susan Hubbard" <susanh@no.address>
To: <greenyes@no.address>
Sent: Tuesday, August 03, 2004 3:08 PM
Subject: [greenyes] FW: [mnkids] FL Hg drop w/emissions/batteries
reduction


>
>
> MN Kids Enviro Health <mnkids@no.address> -- posted by
dwallinga@no.address
> ============================================================
> Everglades Mercury Levels Fall Sharply, Study Shows
> Thu Jul 15, 2004 04:37 PM ET
>
> MIAMI (Reuters) - Mercury levels in the Florida Everglades have
fallen
> sharply since authorities curtailed waste incinerators and battery
> manufacturers reduced their use of the heavy metal, university
researchers
> said on Thursday.
> After analyzing nearly a century of data from bird feathers, the
researchers
> from the University of Florida said they had proved that dangerously
high
> levels of mercury found in the wetlands in the early 1990s had been
caused
> by local waste incineration.
>
> Mercury levels found in the feathers of birds last year were 90
percent
> lower than in 1994, following the introduction of new regulations
demanding
> waste incinerators install pollution-cutting scrubbers on their
smoke
> stacks, said Peter Frederick, an associate professor of wildlife
ecology
at
> the university's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
>
> "This is a triumph of regulation, which is something you don't hear
about
> very often," Frederick added.
>
> The study found it took about seven years for mercury levels in the
birds
to
> decline after emissions were curtailed.
>
> The fall in mercury levels also coincided with the voluntary phasing
out
in
> the 1980s of the use of mercury by some major battery manufacturers,
which
> cut the amount of toxins in household waste, the researchers said.
>
> The University of Florida findings could play a part in a national
debate
> over mercury emissions from coal-fired power stations in identifying
local
> sources of pollution, rather than global sources, as the main reason
for
> mercury contamination.
>
> Environmentalists, and some U.S. states, accuse the Bush
administration
and
> the Environmental Protection Agency of not enforcing the Clean Air
Act,
and
> abandoning strict controls on mercury emissions from power plants.
>
> Florida has few coal-fired power plants and gets most of its
electricity
> from nuclear power, which is why waste incinerators ranked as the
main
> source of Everglades mercury contamination.
>
> Mercury is a toxin that causes reproductive and behavioral problems
in
> birds. The metal also is toxic to humans, and can cause serious
neurological
> damage.
>
> The University of Florida study said populations of wading birds in
the
> Everglades dropped by 90 percent between the 1950s and the 1980s, and
high
> mercury levels played a part. The numbers of breeding pairs in the
marsh
in
> the last five years were higher than they had been in the previous
30
years.
>
> The findings appear in the June issue of the journal Environmental
> Toxicology and Chemistry.
>
>
http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=domesticNews&storyID=5684523

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