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Northwest Environmental Defense Center (NEDC)

New Study Shows Mercury Controls Also Reduce Other Pollutants

February 28, 2016

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    PGE's coal-fired power plant in Boardman, OR
Several years ago, a new federal Clean Air Mercury Rule required that when the Title V permit for PGE Boardman, Oregon’s only coal-fired power plant, was up for renewal, the utility was to assess whether mercury capture and control technology was warranted.  The utility initially argued that mercury control technology was infeasible and unwarranted.  The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) concurred.  NEDC made calls all over the country and ultimately located a helpful mercury capture and control technology industry insider.  With input from him and examples of what regulators were requiring in other jurisdictions, we convinced Oregon DEQ that mercury controls were commercially available, field-tested and cost-effective and should be required at the Boardman plant.
It was a huge uphill battle, but we requested and obtained a public hearing, wrote opinion pieces, worked with local reporters to investigate control options, and were ultimately able to muster enough concern and public engagement that a dinosaur coal-fired power plant was retrofitted. 
The mercury controls have not only been working great to reduce mercury emissions, but they have also had the unanticipated side benefit of dramatically reducing the emissions of other pollutants as well: http://phys.org/news/2015-07-mercury-scrubbers-oregon-power-pollution.html