Governor Otters keeps Idaho out of national mercury pollution permit trading program — good news!

Otter: Pollution trading program still unfit for Idaho. The governor also wants the DEQ [Dept of Environmental Quality] to expand its efforts with surrounding states to reduce mercury emissions. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.

Gov. Butch Otter wants to keep Idaho out of a mercury pollution trading program promoted by the Bush Administration. The program would allow companies to build mercury polluting coal-fired power plants in Idaho simply by buying pollution rights. Former Idaho Gov. Jim Risch first pulled Idaho out of the program in 2006, helping to kill a proposed coal-fired plant near Twin Falls.

Idaho has few mercury pollution rights to sale because it has few sources of mercury pollution. Instead it faces a steady rain of mercury pollution from Nevada’s open pit gold mine and adjacent refineries. Numerous lakes and reservoirs already have too much mercury in the fish to safely eat.

Related: Temporary Victory on Clean Air. The Bush administration is doing everything it can to torpedo a key provision in the Clean Air Act by administrative means. Editorial by the New York Times.





  1. Melissa Avatar

    Another major producer of mercury emissions is chlorine plants. Chlorine plants have been using mercury in their production for well over 100 years in the United States. Much of this mercury escapes through “fugitive emissions” – and then on top of that, many chlorine plants have unaccounted for mercury losses that make their way into the environment.
    However, there is a solution. Newer membrane cell technology eliminates the need for mercury use in chlorine plants. Already 90% of the industry uses this technology, and there are ongoing campaigns to make chlorine production completely mercury-free. To learn more about this campaign check out the
    Oceana website.


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Ralph Maughan