Protestors Want Bondi to Stop Opposing Mercury Pollution Limits

TAMPA (2011-12-13) -

A group of environmental activists picketed outside Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's Tampa office today. They want her to stop fighting proposed federal limits on mercury pollution.

The EPA rule is scheduled to be finalized Friday. It would enact the first limits on the amount of mercury that can be emitted from coal-fired power plants. Phil Compton from the Florida Sierra Club says mercury collects in fish and can build up in the tissues of animals that eat fish.

"Here in Florida, people go fishing to put food on the dinner table, and they can't neccessarily be picky about well, 'Isn't that one of the fish that has a lot of mercury in it? You know, it looks like a pretty good fish'," says Compton. "Because otherwise the fish is fine, you can't taste the mercury. If you have a lot of mercury in your body, as a woman, that would put your baby at risk. You have no symptoms."

He says the metal has been blamed for birth defects and learning disabilities.

"There's a critical window of brain development for any child in utero and in the first year or two of the child's life," says Compton. "And when their mom exposes them to mercury, it can result in irreversible deficits in attention and motor control. Babies walk and talk at a later age. It damages their verbal skills. They have lower IQ's and other developmental disabilities in general."

Florida and 23 other states have petitioned the EPA to delay implementing the rule, saying it could significantly increase the cost of electricity.

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