Mercury poisoning is very serious, particularly for pregnant and nursing women. Catawba Riverkeeper cites a Centers for Disease Control report that estimates about 14 thousand North Carolina children are born each year "with blood mercury levels that place them at risk for lifelong learning disabilities, fine motor and attention deficits and lowered IQ."
But it's apparently not serious enough for North Carolina's Environmental Management Commission (EMC) to crack down on Duke Energy's coal-fired plants, which are the number one cause of mercury pollution. Not only did EMC side with Duke in refusing to clean up its polluting coal ash ponds, it seems to be ignoring Greenpeace's proposal for a better energy plan for North Carolina.
Tell EMC to get mercury out of North Carolina's waters!
We, the undersigned, expect the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission (EMC) to either do its job or get out of the way of real environmental groups doing theirs.
EMC's recent ruling on Duke's polluting ash ponds is a slap in the face to North Carolinians and the hard work of riverkeepers, the Sierra Club and other like-minded advocates for clean water who know the condition of our waters better than anyone else in the state. If EMC can't agree that Duke should maintain safe waste ponds, it should not be allowing them to continue building coal-fired plants.
Greenpeace's report shows that, despite the history of harm caused to North Carolinians by coal-fired plants, Duke Energy plans to continue expanding their use, with a new one being constructed at its Cliffside facility near the North Carolina/South Carolina border, which Catawba's Riverkeeper says will be "a significant new source of mercury pollution."
For some time, largemouth bass from North Carolina waters have been unfit to eat due to mercury poisoning. Now warnings extend to smallmouth bass, walleye, yellow perch and white bass in two lakes in the North Carolina mountains - Chutuge and Nantahala, the latter run by Duke Energy.
Duke's plans for business as usual fly in the face of Greenpeace's report showing that changing to renewable energy would not only save many from ill effects of pollution, but it would save billions in costs.
Catawba Riverkeeper says "Several other major sources of mercury emissions in North Carolina have either eliminated mercury-generating processes or reduced emissions through application of controls." So why is EMC allowing Duke Energy to do as it pleases?
EMC says it is "responsible for adopting rules for the protection, preservation and enhancement of the state's air and water resources." If so, it should do its job instead of standing in the way of health and progress for the majority of North Carolinians.
We request EMC work harder to protect North Carolina from mercury and other poisoning and stop blocking meaningful efforts by others.
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