Utilities, environmentalists dispute timing of mercury standards

By SAODAT ASANOVA-TAYLOR
Capital News Service
LANSING – Environmental protection advocates are urging legislators to support the federal mercury and air toxic standards in the Clean Air Act, but the electric utility industry say, that would create a huge burden. The standards proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would require coal-and oil-fired electric power plants to reduce mercury and other emissions by more than 90 percent. Congressional opponents of the proposal say the standards are too costly and would force the premature closing of power plants, eliminate hundreds of jobs and threaten the supply of electricity. Hugh McDiarmid Jr, communications director of the Michigan Environmental Council, said mercury is dangerous. “Michigan’s Great Lakes are polluted with mercury.

Lawmakers propose more public information about children's products

By PATRICK LYONS
Capital News Service
LANSING — Michigan manufacturers and distributors of children’s products would be required to report the presence of toxic chemicals in their products if legislation introduced in the Senate passes. The legislation by Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor would require manufacturers and distributors to report to the Department of Community Health if their products contain potentially harmful chemicals, and if so in what quantity. The results would then be available to the public on the department’s website. A recent rash of scares concerning chemicals in children’s toys, including lead-painted toys from Asia, prompted the legislation, Warren said. Children’s products are the focus because children are most susceptible to these chemicals for such reasons as weight, hand-to-mouth behavior and level of development, said Alexis Blizman, legislative and policy director for the Michigan Network for Children’s Environmental Health in Ann Arbor.