Excerpts from the Globe’s environmental blog.
Activists delivered more than 630,000 comments to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Boston office last week to support draft rules to curb mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants.
The EPA is expected to finalize rules by mid-November that would reduce emissions of the toxic metal from coal-fired plants by 91 percent, as well as cut other toxic pollution. The letters were delivered by a coalition of more than 200 health, environmental, and social justice organizations.
Mercury is considered one of the most poisonous emissions from power plants because it can damage the developing brains of fetuses and children.
Power plants discharge the metal into the air and it can travel thousands of miles before settling to the ground and washing into lakes and streams.
In the Northeast, pregnant woman and children are urged not to eat fish from scores of lakes and ponds because mercury can build up in the animals’ flesh.
Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of mercury pollution, arsenic, and acidic gases, and account for 25 percent of toxic metal emissions in the United States.
“This tremendous response signals that Americans know how important it is to cut down on mercury, arsenic, and other dangerous pollutants in the air we breathe,’’ Curt Spalding, regional administrator of the EPA, said in a statement.
Opponents say new rules would cost the industry billions of dollars.
Organizations that organized the letter campaign include the Alliance for Climate Protection, Democracia Inc., Environment America, Environmental Defense Fund, Greenpeace, Health Care Without Harm, Interfaith Power and Light, League of Women Voters, League of Conservation Voters, National Wildlife Federation, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Sierra Club, and US Climate Action Network.