SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan hailed yesterday's federal court ruling tightening mercury-emission rules on coal-fired power stations.
The decision overturns two Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules that had allowed power plants to operate without mercury (Hg) emissions regulated under the Clean Air Act. It also allowed a voluntary Hg cap-and-trade system similar to that now proposed to lower carbon emissions.
"Today's decision establishes what we already knew – the USEPA acted illegally when it gutted the federal mercury rules," Madigan stated in a release yesterday. "The Clean Air Act requires that hazardous air pollutants be regulated to protect our environment and public health."
Madigan last month joined Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and 15 other AGs in filing a Motion to Intervene in the case, which was heard yesterday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The Court found that the EPA was required to set stringent mercury-emissions standards, making cap-and-trade illegal.
Blumenthal was especially incensed by the earlier rulings that were struck down yesterday. "The EPA's twisted mindset, enabling filthy power plants to emit high levels of mercury that endanger our children, must be stopped for good," he stated in a release yesterday.
Madigan said airborne Hg emissions were a particular concern in the Prairie State, where authorities have advised residents against eating fish caught in state waters.