Pawlenty lends support to mercury reductions

Associated Press

ST. PAUL -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Thursday put his support behind proposals to reduce mercury emissions by Minnesota power plants, calling for a schedule that would put the state ahead of federal requirements.

Pawlenty called for reducing the toxic emissions by 90 percent "well in advance of" 2018, when new federal standards will require a 70 percent reduction from 1999 levels, said his spokesman Brian McClung.

In a letter to Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner Sheryl Corrigan, the governor endorsed legislation that would require power plants that operate the largest coal-fired facilities in the state to submit mercury reduction plans to the state.

Some environmentalists have criticized the MPCA for spearheading only voluntary efforts at reducing mercury emissions, and for failing to set target dates for cutting emissions in its most recent mercury plan. Last year, a Republican House member and a Democratic senator teamed up to sponsor a bill to reduce emissions in Minnesota by 90 percent by 2011.

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