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Nathan Willcox,
Environment America

Senator Herb Kohl Stands Up for Wisconsinites’ Health, Helps Senate Reject Rollback of Mercury Standards

For Immediate Release

Madison, WI– In a victory for Wisconsinites’ health and environment, the U.S. Senate today rejected a bill which would have allowed power plants to continue spewing toxic mercury pollution into our air. The bill, S.J. Res. 37 introduced by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), would have put up to 11,000 American lives at risk every year. Senator Herb Kohl voted against this dangerous proposal, while Sen. Ron Johnson voted for it.

“Today, Senator Herb Kohl stood up for Wisconsinites’ health and our environment by rejecting this reckless attempt to allow more toxic mercury pollution in our air,” said Allison Gruber, Organizer with Wisconsin Environment. “Though it is disappointing that Senator Ron Johnson chose to side with polluters on this issue, Senator Kohl’s vote was crucial for cleaner air in Wisconsin.”

The legislation that was defeated sought to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recently finalized Mercury and Air Toxics Standard, which requires power plants to reduce their mercury pollution by 90 percent—the first-ever nationwide standard for mercury pollution from power plants, despite power plants being the largest single source of mercury pollution.

In 2010 Wisconsin power plants emitted 1,329 pounds of toxic mercury into our air. This mercury pollution threatens our air, water and health; in fact, just one gram of mercury is enough to make the fish in a 25-acre lake unsafe to eat.