MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — An environmental group is warning Minnesotans to beware of mercury emissions in the fish they eat.
According to Environment Minnesota’s latest report, XCEL Energy’s Sherburne County power plant in Becker, Minn. emits the most mercury pollution of any power plant in Minnesota and the 40th most in the country.
The group said mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin that harms growing children and pollutes the environment. They said exposure can lead to irreversible deficits in verbal skills, damage to attention and motor control, and reduced IQ.
The add that mercury contamination in Minnesota lakes and streams can spread to fish, making them dangerous to eat.
The report collected data from across the country. They found that coal-fired power plants are the largest source of mercury pollution, with 2/3 of all airborne mercury pollution coming from the plants.
The report, which cites new data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), also said that Minnesota plants emitted 876 pounds of mercury pollution in 2010.
This report comes as the EPA is set to finalize a standard to limit toxic air pollution from power plants. Those limits will be announced this month.
Environment Minnesota said it will be the first time in history that EPA limits toxic mercury pollution from power plants and it could reduce emissions by more than 90 percent.