Environmental organizations appeal First Energy’s permit to increase mercury dumping in Lake Erie

CLEVELAND — Two major national environmental organizations, Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club, last week appealed a water pollution permit which allows FirstEnergy’s Lake Shore power plant in Cleveland to dump more mercury into Lake Erie. FirstEnergy asked Ohio EPA to loosen restrictions on dumping the mercury, which is found in the coal ash residue and coal piles.

The Ohio EPA granted FirstEnergy’s request for a permit “variance,” which sets the level of mercury pollution at a level five times higher than the Great Lakes standard for protecting wildlife. In the appeal, filed at the Ohio Environmental Review Appeals Commission, the environmental organizations say that Ohio EPA failed to do an independent evaulation of whether better technologies were available and did not require FirstEnergy to show that better technologies were not available.

Sandy Buchanan, Executive Director, Ohio Citizen Action