DEC issues draft plan to cut mercury in New York waters

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The New York state Department of Environmental Conservation says federal regulators have approved a Northeast regional plan intended to cut smokestack mercury emissions to the point that New York fish are safe to eat again.

New York and six New England states, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, are collaborating on the plan. They’ve cut their mercury emissions and discharges in the past decade by more than 70 percent, including 90 percent from waste incinerators. They have also adopted tougher emission limits on coal-fired power plants.

Since they are downwind, the Northeast states’ waterways are also contaminated by air emissions farther west.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency, which approved the regional accord. But New York DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis says a national program from that federal agency is needed.

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