Monday, January 31, 2011

Barrick, Wharf, Black Hills Corp. mercury pollution targeted

Headwaters News alerted on a Denver Post article of a move by EPA to flex against mercury emitters at US gold mines and coal-fired power plants:

The regulations announced Friday will reduce airborne mercury pollution from the mines to about 1,200 pounds a year, a 77 percent reduction from 2007 levels, said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The rule represents the first national standard for mercury air emissions from gold mines, the seventh largest source of such pollution in the country. Fourteen of the nation's 20 or so gold mines are in Nevada, the richest gold mining state in the country. The rule also affects mines in Alaska, California, Colorado, Montana, South Dakota and Washington.

The Environmental Protection Agency issued long-overdue rules to limit mercury air pollution from gold mines, for the first time bringing a significant source of a dangerous neurotoxin in Americans' diets under the authority of the Clean Air Act. The new rule did not include limits for other hazardous mining air pollution like cyanide and arsenic.  Most airborne mercury pollution comes from coal-fired power plants, but emissions from gold mines account for about 10 percent, or 2,775 pounds, according to figures compiled from the EPA's 2009 Toxic Release Inventory by EARTHWORKS, an international mining reform group. Even the smallest amounts of mercury are extremely dangerous to the developing brains of infants and children.
Colstrip, Montana is a serial offender. NewWest said it like this.

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