It is heartening to read that the Environmental Protection Agency will enforce tougher regulations for air pollutants crossing state lines.
Polluted air and water do not respect state boundaries. This should assuage the arguments often appearing in these columns for reduced federal regulation; it is necessary. EPA regulations have also been described by critics as "job deterrents."
Well, one sure way to lose one's job is to be one of the 900 premature deaths annually projected for South Carolina because of this pollution.
Kudos to the utilities that have begun installing pollution control equipment. Common sense dictates limiting toxic emissions from utilities. While the regulations address smog and soot containing sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, there is another toxin that needs attention -- mercury.
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Congress should encourage the EPA to require that utilities bring mercury emissions under strict control. Every state has a fish advisory of some type because of unsafe mercury levels. In South Carolina, all black water rivers and streams have fish advisories. This was brought home to us in Beaufort County by the state Department of Health Environmental Control adding our esteemed cobia to the advisory list. A warning of one meal per month for cobia takes the thrill out of fishing (and eating) this highly favored (and flavored) fish.
Yes, as the argument goes, America does have fossil fuel resources to help wean us from foreign energy, but we must have safeguards for our health and welfare.