Mercury Capture in North Carolina as a Co-Benefit of Phase II of the Acid Rain Program
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Mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants pose environmental and public health concerns in North Carolina. Once converted to methylmercury in aquatic environments, mercury compounds can bioaccumulate in fish and other species, including humans. In humans, mercury compounds can function as a neurotoxin to a fetus and impair neurological development of young children. Recent multi-pollutant strategies are expected to reduce the amount of mercury emitted from coal-fired power plants in North Carolina. To test this assumption, this study examines the mercury capture of a similar piece of existing legislation, the Acid Rain Program. Holding other variables constant, this study finds that during the Phase II years of the Acid Rain Program, coal-fired power plants emitted on average 208 fewer pounds of mercury per year compared to the Phase I years. These results suggest multi-pollutant strategies can be an effective strategy to reduce mercury emissions.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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