Wisconsin Wildlife Federation: Lake Shore Owners, Anglers Call For Increased Mercury Regulation

For information contact:
George Meyer, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation,
608-516-5545
Peter Murray, Wisconsin Association of Lakes,
[email protected]; 608-662-0923

Madison, WI—Today, leaders of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and the Wisconsin Association of Lakes delivered thousands of postcards in support of mercury reductions to the Governor and the Legislature. The postcards ask state officials to support a Wisconsin rule that will reduce mercury pollution from coal-burning power plants.

“For many Wisconsin families, Memorial Day weekend is the first chance to enjoy fishing on one of Wisconsin’s lakes or rivers,” said George Meyer, Executive Director of the WWF. “Wisconsin can’t afford to have another Memorial Day pass without starting to clean up mercury pollution that threatens our lakes and our families’ health.”

All Wisconsin lakes and rivers are on a health advisory because of unsafe mercury levels in larger fish. Pregnant women, women who might become pregnant, nursing mothers, and children under 15 are advised to severely limit the sport fish they eat from Wisconsin waters. Coal burning power plants are the largest uncontrolled source of mercury pollution in the state and in the nation.

“Mercury is WWF’s number one priority right now,” said Meyer. “We need leadership from Wisconsin officials to protect our health and natural resources.”

The postcards thank Governor Doyle for his campaign pledge to support the phase out of mercury emissions from coal-burning power plants. Signers express support for reducing mercury pollution from the smokestacks of Wisconsin’s coal plants by at least 80%. The postcards urge state leaders to deal with mercury pollution because the state cannot afford to wait for the federal government to take action. The EPA has proposed a federal mercury rule for power plants that delays mercury cuts, sets weak targets, and may allow Wisconsin power plants to avoid making mercury reductions altogether.

“Wisconsin has so many lakes, and so many people who love to fish,” said Peter Murray, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Association of Lakes. “We have more at risk and therefore, more to gain by reducing mercury pollution from Wisconsin power plants. State leaders are being asked to do everything in their power to reduce mercury pollution.”