MCEA Statement on National Mercury Standard Lawsuit
September 29, 2020 CONTACT: JT Haines, firstname.lastname@example.org, 612-743-7781
SAINT PAUL -- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and State Attorney General Keith Ellison joined the Michigan Department of Environment Great Lakes and Energy in a federal lawsuit this week against the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to force the EPA to set a national air emissions standard for mercury in the taconite industry.
A 2011 study by the Minnesota Department of Health showed that 1 in 10 newborns on Minnesota’s North Shore had an unacceptably high level of mercury in their blood, and that there is a connection between mercury and impaired fetal development.
Kathryn Hoffman, Chief Executive Officer for the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, issued this statement:
"We fully support the Attorney General and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s decision to bring this federal lawsuit. We know that mercury is a pollutant that can be controlled, and that there is a huge upside for public health in doing so. A national air emission standard for mercury in the taconite industry would formalize needed limits, and protect the health of children, especially those in northern Minnesota."
Taconite mining is the last major industry without a national mercury standard. The State of Minnesota currently has a goal of a 72% reduction of mercury emissions from taconite operations. Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. is the only company that has currently committed to the 72% reduction.