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Yesterday, Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney waded into the “current” Congressional battle to clean up power plants, taking the side of industry over public health.

It is a sad day on a number of levels.  Not only is a Presidential candidate turning his back on millions of children in favor of his dirty air backers, but he is also turning his back on his legacy as an environmental leader during his tenure as Massachusetts’s governor from 2003 to 2007.  

In 2003, then-Governor Mitt Romney stood in the shadow of a power plant and chastised the industry for their toxic emissions that were killing people.  He stated in 2003, “Massachusetts has been a national leader in the effort to clean up our oldest and dirtiest power plants. The implementation of these new mercury standards, coupled with major reductions in other air pollutants now underway, will ensure that the citizens of the Commonwealth will breathe the cleanest air possible.”

His campaign’s statement shows that candidate Romney is willing to say anything, do anything, and promise anything to please his dirty air backers.

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Comment Preferences

  •  From your link (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, Temmoku, MKSinSA
    “Governor Romney has made clear that he opposes the Utility MACT, which costs more than $1,500 for every one dollar reduction in mercury pollution,” Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul said in a statement.
    What does that even mean?

    that it costs $1,500 to keep one dollar's worth of mercury out of the environment?

    Well, based on how much harm one dollar's worth of mercury can do, that's probably a pretty good deal.

    •  OK, some quick math, hopefully it's not too far (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Temmoku, jfromga, MKSinSA, Tinfoil Hat


      From the internet, if you buy mercury in bulk, you can get about 198 grams for one dollar.

      Also, it appears that about 1 mg (one milligram) can poison a person (not necessarily kill them, but cause harm at some level).

      Thus, the dollar's worth of mercury can in theory poison 198,000 people.

      It's really bizarre that Romney doesn't think that spending $1,500 to prevent that is worth it.  Heck, that's less than a penny a person . . .

    •  i just googled (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy

      and got a price of $5 for 100gram. So about 20 grams/dollar or about 1/3 of an ounce. If there are 100,000 people around the factory and they somehow manage to miraculously absorb 100% of that, each person would be exposed to 0.00000032 ounces.

      I wonder how that compares to the natural background level we're exposes to every day.

      At some point the cost/benefit of reducing it further does become a bad trade. Of course i have no idea where that point lies.

      •  Yeah, I tried to do similar calculations! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        In theory, what you say makes sense.

        In reality, the old coal burning power plants in question emit WAY more than 1/3 of an ounce - in fact, they are well demonstrated to spew harmful levels of mercury into the environment:

        The top 50 most-polluting coal-burning power plants in the United States emitted 20 tons of toxic mercury into the air in 2007
        •  of course and then (0+ / 0-)

          we're also talking about 310,000,000 people rather than 100,000 unequally exposed of course.

          Mercury is bad of course and should be limited in the enviroment.

          But trying to have 0 emissions would be prohibitively expensive, likely driving jobs overseas.

          So there needs to be a balance between the tradeoffs is all.

          •  Not sure if anyone says that zero emissions (0+ / 0-)

            is the goal, even if that were possible.

            If you'd bother to read up on this, there are a relatively limited number of pre-EPA clean air standard coal plants (e.g., from about 40 years ago or older) - only a few dozen IIRC - that emit about 40% of all mercury in this country - tons and tons of it each year.

            It is an absolute no-brainer that they should all be shut down ASAP or brought up to today's standards (which won't  happen because it'd cost more than building new plants to replace them).

            As things are now, they are pure gold for the owners, generating power at something like 2.2 cents/KWH (compared to at least 2 or 3 times that for "clean" replacements, even if clean just refers to new NG plants).  Thus allowing them to keep operating, as Romney proposes, is nothing but a huge cash cow to their owners at the expense of the health of tens of millions of Americans.

            I believe that the bigger picture here is that Obama's EPA is going to require all of these plants be retrofitted and/or shut down in the next 2 or 3 years - that's how bad they are! (i.e., that's coming from the same folk who fast tracked approval for 42 of 48 MTR coal mines upon taking office).

      •  do you suppose you should (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roadbed Guy

        figure on milligrams since it is 1mg that poisons a person no a full gram?  And what does the cost of the mercury have to do with the cost of mercury poisoning?

        Can we cure mercury poisoning?  Is the damage permanent? What is the cost of ameliorative treatment?  What are the bioaccumulative effects in the food chain, on soil, future generations still poisoned by a dollar of mercury?  Maybe we should ask those questions, the real costs?  

        Do we always have to accept right wing talking points without examining the underlying assumptions which are inevitably fallacious if not deliberate lies?   Could we for once think instead of parrot?

        •  i try to accept what is true (0+ / 0-)

          be it from the left or the right. Truth has no direction.

        •  Actually, much of the mercury from coal plants (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          somehow bioaccumulates in fish, and that's the most popular (somehow a better word is needed than "popular" but hopefully the point comes across) route of exposure for children.

          Whether many kids are actually exposed to harmful levels of mercury via this mechanism is not entirely clear, but I recall once looking into nitty gritty of this and the steady state levels were something like 3 to 10 fold higher the transitory amount of mercury obtained from thimersol-laden vaccines (which sent a lot of people into a flat out tizzy - just saying, if that was at all harmful, this is much, much worse)

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