July 4, 2009--Lawsuit targets mercury pollution (Durango Herald)

An environmental group is suing Xcel Energy, saying the utility isn't doing all it can to cut mercury emissions from a new coal-fired unit at a Pueblo power plant.
WildEarth Guardians says in a federal lawsuit filed Thursday that Xcel is violating federal environmental laws by failing to obtain the approval required by the federal Clean Air Act. Mercury is a powerful toxin that accumulates in fish and poses a risk of nerve and brain damage, especially to pregnant women and children. About 40 percent of the manmade mercury pollution in the United States comes from coal-fired power plants. Nichols said Xcel's current permit for the new Pueblo unit will cut mercury emissions by about 65 percent. But experience with other coal-fired plants shows that technology is available to reduce the pollution by up to 95 percent, he added.


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