Local News

Study: NC power plants among worst mercury polluters

Posted February 3, 2011 4:10 p.m. EST

— North Carolina ranks eighth nationally in the amount of mercury emitted by power plants in the state, according to a report released Thursday by Environment North Carolina.

The report, "Dirty Energy’s Assault on our Health: Mercury," states that coal-fired power plants in North Carolina emitted 4,702 pounds of mercury pollution in 2009. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to propose a standard next month to limit mercury and other toxic air pollution from power plants.

“Powering our homes should not poison North Carolina’s kids,” Locky Stewart of Environment North Carolina said in a statement. “Mercury pollution from power plants puts our kids and our environment at risk, and we need the Environmental Protection Agency to force these facilities to clean up.”

The EPA estimates that one in six women of child-bearing age has enough mercury in her bloodstream to put her unborn child at risk for including learning disabilities and developmental disorders. The Neuse and Tar rivers are among the waterways in North Carolina contaminated by mercury pollution, affecting fish that live in the waterways, officials said.