Douglas asks EPA to withdraw mercury proposal

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(Host) Governor Jim Douglas says he’s concerned that new regulations developed by the Bush administration concerning mercury emissions from power plants will cause significant harm to Vermont’s environment. Douglas is asking the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Michael Leavitt, to withdraw the proposal and come back with much stronger rules:

(Douglas) “New estimates for the Northeast show that 40 percent of the lakes in New Hampshire and Vermont contain mercury levels in excess of even the least stringent EPA standard. The federal Food and Drug Administration and the EPA recently released new health advisories on limiting human consumption of fish and shell fish. These problems indicate the need for swift and effective regulatory action to limit mercury emissions from the key sources like coal burning power plants.”

(Host) It’s the second time that Douglas has criticized environmental policies in the White House. Douglas urged the state of Vermont to sue the federal government over proposed changes to the Clean Air Act. While the governor is chairman of President Bush’s re-election campaign in Vermont, he says Bush’s environmental priorities appear to be different from those of many Vermonters:

(Douglas) “A lot of people in different parts of the United States have different views about environmental standards and the president is the president of the entire nation. I have a responsibility to the people of Vermont and I’m going to voice that.”

(Host) Douglas says he’s hopeful that the EPA will develop a new mercury emission plan because the agency has admitted that the technical reviews surrounding the draft regulations were insufficient.

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