, 2000

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JUNE 4, 1999  10:46 AM
Clean Air Trust
Frank O'Donnell 202-785-9625
EEI Toxics Disclosure Called `Transparent Ploy' to Deceive Public, Avoid Controls on Mercury, Other Toxics
WASHINGTON - June 4 - The nonprofit Clean Air Trust today termed a media event by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) a "transparent ploy" to "deceive the American public" and avoid pollution controls on mercury and other toxics.

The utility industry trade association held a briefing to "disclose" industry-wide data on the toxic emissions of power companies. For the first time this year, power companies are required to report this information to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Clean Air Trust said the trade group appeared to be releasing the information early in an effort to "control the spin."

"Their basic message is `Sure, we dump a lot of toxics into the environment, but nobody really gets hurt," said Frank O'Donnell, executive director of the Trust. "That's a transparent ploy to deceive the American public about the real impact of power company pollution."

O'Donnell noted that power companies are the biggest unregulated source of such toxic air pollutants as mercury.

"Even seemingly small amounts of this toxic can be dangerous because it accumulates in fish," O'Donnell noted. "EEI's real agenda is to avoid cleaning up this and other toxics." O'Donnell noted that coal-based power companies had successfully lobbied Congress to block EPA from initiating mercury cleanup at utilities.

O'Donnell noted that some power companies appear willing to break ranks with the trade association on this issue. Earlier this week, seven major utilities from the Northeast and Ontario said federal limits on mercury "appear warranted." These companies, members of the Clean Energy Group, made their announcement at a briefing with the Natural Resources Defense Council and EPA Administrator Carol Browner.


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