Senator McCaskill Helps Senate Reject Rollback of Mercury Standards

Environment Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri – In a victory for Missourians’ health and environment, the U.S. Senate today rejected a bill which would have allowed power plants to continue spewing toxic mercury pollution into our air.  The bill, S.J. Res. 37 introduced by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), would have put up to 11,000 American lives at risk every year. Senator McCaskill voted against this dangerous proposal.

“Today, Senator McCaskill stood up for Missourians’ health and our environment by rejecting this reckless attempt to allow more toxic mercury pollution in our air,” said Ted Mathys, Advocate for Environment Missouri. “At a time when our power plants emit more mercury than those in 46 other states, this was a critical step for Missouri.”   

The legislation that was defeated sought to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recently finalized Mercury and Air Toxics Standard, which requires power plants to reduce their mercury pollution by 90 percent—the first-ever nationwide standard for mercury pollution from power plants, despite power plants being the largest single source of mercury pollution.  

According to a recent report by Environment Missouri, in 2010 Missouri’s power plants emitted 3,835 pounds of toxic mercury into our air, more than the mercury emissions from power plants in 46 other states.  Ameren’s Labadie power station in Franklin County is the 2nd worst mercury-emitting plant in the nation. This mercury pollution threatens our air, water and health; in fact, just one gram of mercury is enough to make the fish in a 25-acre lake unsafe to eat.  More than 30 rivers, lakes, and streams in Missouri are impaired by mercury in fish tissue, and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services issues an annual mercury fish advisory, warning citizens to limit consumption of certain fish caught in Missouri’s waterways.