"Mountains of Mercury: The Pollution Costs of Cement Production"

"In 2005, after a federal mercury-reduction rule was passed (since vacated by the U.S. Court of Appeals), [Patty] Jacobs and the nation's other regulators began paying attention to coal-fired power plants, a major source of the mercury building up in the nation's waterways. The Boardman plant, a coal-fired facility 160 miles east of Portland, reported that it had put 281 pounds of it into the air that year. That ostensibly made the plant the largest mercury source in Jacobs' territory, which covered much of central and eastern Oregon. ...

To learn more about other mercury sources in her territory, Jacobs dug into the Environmental Protection Agency's Toxic Release Inventory, a public repository of emissions data. She learned that in 2005, the Ash Grove cement plant, located in the town of Durkee in eastern Oregon, reported emitting 631 pounds of mercury — more than twice the amount reported by the Boardman power plant."

Jeremy Miller reports for High Country News January 11, 2010.

Source: High Country News, 01/21/2010