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Mercury Emission Rules Finalized

Contact: Robert McCann (517) 373-7917
Agency: Environmental Quality

October 19, 2009

Department of Environmental Quality Director Steven E. Chester reported today that the state's new mercury emission rules have been finalized; allowing Michigan to become the 19th state to limit mercury emissions from coal fired power plants.

"Mercury is a serious health concern, and Michigan is eager to see a major reduction in mercury air emissions," said Director Chester.  "We have worked closely with Michigan's utilities, the environmental and conservation communities, and other key organizations to develop this critically important regulation, and we will now work to ensure it is properly implemented."

Under the new rules, starting in 2015, all coal-fired electric-generating units (EGUs) must meet a 90 percent reduction in mercury emissions.  Existing coal-fired EGUs will choose one of three options in order to comply with the emission limits, and any new EGU will be required to meet best available control requirements for mercury. 

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin known to have harmful developmental and neurological effects on humans, particularly for children and women of child-bearing age.  Utility plants that burn coal to generate electricity are the largest source of mercury air emissions in Michigan and across the nation. 

Details regarding the mercury rules are available via the DEQ web page at www.michigan.gov/deqair.  Select "Mercury Air Issues" under "Spotlight".

For more information on Michigan's air quality, go to www.michigan.gov/deqair.  To view real-time air monitoring information, select the MIair icon.

Editor's note:  DEQ news releases are available on the department's Internet home page at www.michigan.gov/deq .

"Protecting Michigan's Environment, Ensuring Michigan's Future"