Legislation to cut green house gases is stalled, but there is bi-partisan support for reducing mercury and other harmful emissions. Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander has introduced a bill to reduce mercury emissions from coal plants by 90 percent. He says it will improve air and water quality throughout the state.
Mercury from power plants seeps into crops and water supplies. But the air pollution from coal is especially harmful for children and pregnant women. The bill requires power plants to install new scrubbers to drastically cut pollutants. Alexander says the 400,000 Tennesseans with asthma need a federal policy.
“Our state simply can not clean up our air all by ourselves without strong national standards to require the rest of the country to stop producing dirty air that blows into our state.”
Alexander says the bill won’t hurt Tennessee Valley Authority’s coal plants. He says estimates show it will cost fewer than two dollars a month per household.
The Environmental Protection Agency is already moving ahead with new regulations. But Alexander worries the EPA will get tangled up in a legal battle if it goes forward without Congress.
This report was produced by Capitol News Connection reporter Matt Laslo.