Monday, January 01, 2007

Mercury in Fish

Mercury in South Carolina fish is a problem. Audubon South Carolina has instituted a program to inform the local rural population regarding the dangers of mercury in fish consumed from Four Holes Swamp. Unfortunately, not everyone has yet to hear the news. Below is an excerpt from The Post and Courier on the subject of mercury in South Carolina waters.

friendly format sponsored by:The New Media Department of The Post and Courier SATURDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2006 8:04 AM
Cash for credits creates mercury pollution loophole
The Post and Courier
Baseball cards. Gold. Mercury-tainted air. All of these have something in common, or will soon: They're commodities that can be bought, sold and traded sometimes for big bucks.Mercury pollution?In a controversial trading plan, South Carolina and other states plan to dish out special mercury emissions credits to power companies. Each credit will have its own serial number, just like a dollar bill, and each credit will represent an ounce of mercury pumped into the air.In South Carolina, these credits could be worth $40 million a year, maybe more.Welcome to the high-stakes world of emissions trading, where utilities buy and sell the right to pollute.Supporters, including the state's power companies, say these trading programs harness free-market forces to reduce pollution. They point to a trading plan for sulfur dioxide that helped lower emissions that cause acid rain. Largely because of that program's success, California and several other states are working on ambitious trading programs to curb carbon dioxide, a gas that many believe causes global warming.But mercury is different, critics say. They argue that it's wrong to buy and sell a potent neurotoxin that can cause birth defects and learning disabilities. They point out that the trading program applies only to coal-fired power plants not private factories and incinerators, which are among the worst mercury polluters in the state. And they question the program's fairness to communities around power plants, because mercury tends to fall near these plants rather than drift hundreds of miles away. "South Carolina can do better," said John Suttles, an attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center in North Carolina. The debate over emissions trading is particularly important in South Carolina, which has mercury contamination on 1,683 miles of rivers and lakes, including many near Charleston. (continues here)

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