• A Good Day For Protecting Our Children

    April 19,2013, 13:16 PM

    Thursday, April 11, 2013, was a good day. First, I had the honor to speak with one of my senators, Bob Casey, and thank him for continuing to stand firm in protecting our children from mercury poisoning. During the recent Senate budget vote-a-thon,Senator Casey voted no on an amendment offered by Senator Coats that would have delayed the implementation of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. These standards are critical to reducing the one in six babies born with threatening levels of mercury. Senator Casey understands that protecting our children from toxic chemicals both inside and outside the womb is a pro-life issue.

    Additionally, I asked Senator Casey to support Gina McCarthy as the new Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency. "Why?" asked theSenator. I replied, "Gina and I have become friends over the last several years and I am confident she will make an excellent EPA Administrator. She is a good cop for protecting our childrenand considers all viewpoints." (Please see my March 4 post.) Senator Casey was a bit surprised that that a former coal miner's son personally knew the EPA Administrator nominee. Hopefully, my opinions were helpful as the Senator expressed his support for Gina.

    Second, I was privileged to attend the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee confirmation hearing of Gina McCarthy. Right before the hearing I told Gina I was praying for her. I continued praying in the EPW hearing room. My prayers were for peace and wisdom not only for Gina but also for all the senators. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of Washington's partisanship. It's long past time for all America,including our elected and appointed political leaders, to work together. And yesterday demonstrated that prayer works.

    From the beginning of the Obama Administration my fellow Republicans have used the EPA as their favorite political punching bag. Here's the problem with that: no one should try to score political points at the expense of our children's health.

    But I'm proud to say that las tweek's hearing was respectful all around. The top Republican (or Ranking Member) Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) did have some tough things to say about the EPA, but treated Gina fairly, as did the rest of my fellow Republicans on the EPW Committee. I especially liked Senator Sessions approach,and the prediction that Gina would be confirmed.

    Last week was more proof in power of prayer. I'll continue prayers for Gina as she leads the EPA, but I will also pray for all our elected and appointed leaders. I would encourage you to do the same.

    In Christ,

    Mitch Hescox

  • Evangelicals Praise Senate For Protecting the Unborn from Mercury Pollution

    June 20,2012, 09:17 AM

    WASHINGTON, DC - In a full vote Wednesday morning the Senate rejected a measure intended to roll back the EPA's implementation of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), a rule that would limit mercury emissions from coal-burning power plants.

    "Today is a great day for our kids and the unborn. The U.S. Senate did the right thing by rejecting efforts to kill mercury regulations at the expense of our children's health," said the Rev. Mitch Hescox President & CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN). "20 years was too long to wait but we've finally done the right thing by regulating mercury from power plants for the first time."

    Since 2005, EEN has worked to overcome the mercury poisoning of the unborn. In the last year EEN has run a media campaign featuring radio, TV, and billboard ads, as well as emails to over 10 million evangelicals and Catholics, in key states to raise public awareness of the dangers of mercury and urging Christians to contact their elected officials to protect the unborn from this poison.

    "I'm especially thankful for the bi-partisan leadership of Senators Alexander (R-TN), Casey (D-PA), and Pryor (D-AR) for voting for life" said Rev. Hescox.

    EEN has worked with the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and over 100 senior evangelical leaders to lift up the impacts of mercury on the unborn. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 1 in 6 children in the United States are born with harmful levels of mercury.

  • EEN Op-Ed in the Hill Today

    June 18,2012, 20:12 PM

    EEN's President, Mitch Hescox, shares thoughts on mercury poisoning of our unborn babies and infants in the Hill newspaper today. Click here for the full piece.

  • High Levels of Mercury Found in North Shore Babies

    February 06,2012, 13:10 PM

    A new study by the Minnesota Department of Health has found that 1 in 10 babies along Minnesota's North Shore are born with unhealthy levels of mercury in their bodies. Unborn babies are exposed to mercury through fish consumed by pregnant mothers. In the area of study eating fish with high mercury concentration like walleye was a likely avenue for exposure. Be sure not to miss the complete story in the Minnesota Star Tribune.

  • Increased Mercury Exposure in Wildlife

    January 24,2012, 15:34 PM

    A new study by the Biodiversity Research Institute sheds newlight on the level of mercury in ecosystems throughout the northeast. The study titled "Hidden Risks" found dangerously high levels of mercury in several bird species across the Northeast. The study indicates that mercury is having a devastating impact across the ecosystem as exposure levels were high among bird species despite the distance from coal burning power plants.

    The New York Times also had a piece on the report and quoted Dr. David Evers, the Executive Director of the Institute as saying, "We're seeing many other species in a much larger landscape of harm from mercury."

    In the case of the wood thrush bird the study noted that the decline "may include forest destruction and fragmentation, as well as acid rain. The combination of high mercury levels in areas with acid rain may combine to create a '1-2 punch' that is more damaging to the population than either effect in isolation."

  • Senate Briefing Remarks by Mitch Hescox, November 30, 2011

    December 16,2011, 07:15 AM
    Luke 18:15-16 (ESV)
    Now they were bringing even infants to him that he mighttouch them.
    And when the disciples saw it, theyrebukedthem. But Jesus called them
    to him, saying,"Letthe children come to me, and do not hinder them, for
    tosuch belongs the kingdom of God.

    Children are precious; they are a gift from God and the most vulnerable members of our society. Those gathered here today from the National Association of Evangelicals, The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Evangelical Environmental Network, two different traditions in the Christian community, but together we believe not only is life precious but sacred. Anything that threatens and impedes life, especially impacts on the unborn and young children should be a moral outrage. Mercury poisoning is such an outrage.

    We've waited since the 1990 Clean Air Act to clean up mercury. Because of our foot dragging approximately 1 in 6 children in the United States are born with threatening levels of mercury.[i][ii] The mercury impairs neurological development, lowers IQ, linked to cardiovascular disease, and a host of other potentialadverse health impacts.[iii] These are lifetime effects. The economic loss attributed to reduced IQ from US coal fired power plants equals 1.6 billion per year in 2010 dollars.[iv] When added to the co-public health benefits from particulates and acid rain reductions in the proposed Utility MACT Rule,the health care savings potentially reaches $140 billion per year returning $5 to 13 dollar per $1.00 spent on controls.[v]

    Public opinion continues to support regulations that protect children's health. Yet, Congress has largely ignored public concern and given a free pass to the largest domestic source of mercury pollution, coal fired electric utilities.[vi] Coal electric generation produces 50% of the domestic mercury emissions; yet this sector is currently not required to meet the same emission standards as solid or medical waste incinerators. This is simply wrong.

    No amount of mercury is safe[vii] and more enters the food chain each year. The USGS in its Biannual National Listing of Fish Advisories states that approximately 17million acres of lakes and over 1.2 million miles of rivers have mercury advisories, an of 1.1% (lakes) and 0.2% (rivers) increase from 2008.[viii]

    2011 USGS Fish Advisories
    2011 USGS Fish Advisories

    Currently, the Evangelical Environmental Network is mountinga serious campaign strengthening public concern on mercury and its effects onthe unborn. In six states ranging fromthe northeast, Midwest, and southeast over 10 million emails have been sent to pro-life voters and radio ads are running at saturation rates on over 60 Christian, Country and News/Talk stations with billboards placed in strategiclocation in many states.

    This campaign refutes the fears generated by some that allowing the EPA to perform its Congressional mandated mission will raise utility prices, cost jobs, and decrease electricity reliability.

    Psalm 82:3 (ESV)
    Give justice totheweak and the fatherless;
    maintain the right of the afflicted andthe destitute.

    Our Holy Scriptures calls us to defend the weak, and the weakest, unborn children, pay the greatest cost in not reducing mercury emissions. Some will mistakenly cry out that the poor will be most affected in higher electric rates as the implementation costs will approach 10 billion dollars per year. Ten billion is a huge sum, but distributed per consumer in the United States results in an average maximum cost of $7.00 per month per household. While the poorest might face impacts, the pollution reductions will return $5 " 13 in health benefits for every $1 spent on emission reduction as mentioned previously.[ix]

    Still others will claim massive jobs loss in jobs stillfaltering economy. These facts simply donot add up. EPA modeling provides amodest 31,000 construction jobs and net 9,000 new permanent positions.[x] Nor does it match the conclusion from the Economic Policy Institute, the labor movement's premiere analytical shop. It states: "The toxics rule would have amodest positive net impact on overall employment, likely leading to the creation of 28,000 to 158,000 jobs between now and 2015."[xi]

    Perhaps the greatest current fear tactic centers on electricity reliability. But utility representatives themselves debunk this. In testimony at EPA's public hearing in Philadelphia, Exelon's Bruce Alexander stated that "nothing about this rule [the mercury regulation] will jeopardize the reliability of the electric system." [xii] Testifying before a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing, Michael Bradley, representing a coalition of utilities, stated that "we do not believe compliance with the rule willbcompromise the reliability of the electric system."[xiii] The Bipartisan Policy Centers rebuts the reliability question in stating, "While an emergency reliability issue isunlikely and should be preventable with proper planning and oversight, DOE and FERC have authority to address such situations if they arise."[xiv] The November 2011 Clean Energy Group report affirms, "" the electric industry can comply with EPA's air pollution rules without threatening electric system reliability."[xv] Even this week's NERC report that bases it conclusions on more stringent rules than EPA proposes, assumes no new generation capacity, and attributes all plant closing do to EPA regulations states that there are risks but they can be manageable with proper planning and coordination.[xvi]

    One of the greatest joys in my life is being a "pop-pop." Jack is my seven-month old grandson and like me lives in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania, one of the largest mercury emitters, has no state regulations as several years ago the Commonwealth's Supreme Court struck down the state laws as the responsibility of the Federal Government and EPA. One of our greatest prayers is that Jack has not suffered IQ loss or other developmental disability. We pray because many of mercury conditions are not diagnosable for 24 to 48 months post-natal, well after the damage occurs. We stand a good chance because of my involvement and on the advice of her physician, my daughter ate very little fish during her pregnancy. How many will not be as unfortunate, one out of six. That's simply unacceptable to God and itshould be to Congress as well.

    Next week, I understand the House Energy and CommerceCommittee are marking up more legislation to stop the EPA. I pray the Senate is wise enough to put ourunborn children first and stop this terrible threat upon our children.

    The bottom line is children are God's most precious gift. We have a known hazard that impacts each unborn child's life from conception to death, and we must do all we can as a government and as a society to offer our children an opportunityfor an abundant life. To do anything else is simply immortal.

    [i] See Mahaffey et al., "Blood Organic Mercury and Dietary Mercury Intake" Environmental Health Perspectives, 112,#5 (April 2004).
    [ii]Trasande, et al., "Public Health and Economic Consequences of Methyl MercuryToxicity to the Developing Brain," Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol.113, No. 5 (May 2005): p. 590
    [iii] http://www.epa.gov/ttn/ecas/regdata/RIAs/ToxicsRuleRIA.pdf
    [iv] Trasande,et al., "Public Health and Economic Consequences of Methyl MercuryToxicity to the Developing Brain," Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol.113, No. 5 (May 2005): p. 590
    [v] EPA,Power Plant Mercury and Air Toxics Standards: Overview of Proposed Rule andImpacts
    [vi] http://www.lawandenvironment.com/uploads/file/CRS-EPA.pdf
    [vii]Bose-O'Reilly, et. al., Mercury Exposure and Children's Health, Curr. Probl. Pediatr HealthCare, 2010 September: 40(8): 16-18.
    [viii] http://water.epa.gov/scitech/swguidance/fishshellfish/fishadvisories
    [ix] EPA, Power Plant Mercury and Air Toxics Standards:Overview of Proposed Rule and Impacts, p. 2.
    [x]EPA, Power Plant Mercury and Air Toxics Standards: Overview of Proposed Ruleand Impacts
    [xi]Economic Policy Institute, A Lifesaver,Not A Job Killer: EPA's proposed "air toxic rule" is no threat to job growth,Briefing Paper #312 (June 14, 2011): http://w3.epi-data.org/temp2011/BriefingPaper312%20%282%29.pdf.
    [xii] http://www.exeloncorp.com/assets/newsroom/speeches/docs/speech_Alexander_PhilaEPAHearing_110524.pdf
    [xiii]U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee onEnergy and Power Hearing on "The American Energy Initiative" regarding RecentEPA Rulemakings Relating to Boilers, Cement Manufacturing Plants, andUtilities, April 15, 2011. For Bradley'stestimony, go to: http://republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/Media/file/Hearings/Energy/041511_2/Bradley.pdf.
    [xiv]Bi-Partisan Policy Center, Environmental Regulation and Electric SystemReliability, June 2011: http://www.eenews.net/assets/2011/06/13/document_pm_02.pdf.
    [xv] http://www.mjbradley.com/sites/default/files/ReliabilityUpdateNovember202011_1.pdf
    [xvi] http://www.nerc.com/files/2011LTRA_Final.pdf
    ont-. �l:�B 0j( w Roman";mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;mso-ansi-language:EN-US;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;mso-bidi-language:AR-SA'>[xii] http://www.exeloncorp.com/assets/newsroom/speeches/docs/speech_Alexander_PhilaEPAHearing_110524.pdf
    [xiii]U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee onEnergy and Power Hearing on "The American Energy Initiative" regarding RecentEPA Rulemakings Relating to Boilers, Cement Manufacturing Plants, andUtilities, April 15, 2011. For Bradley'stestimony, go to: http://republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/Media/file/Hearings/Energy/041511_2/Bradley.pdf.
    [xiv]Bi-Partisan Policy Center, Environmental Regulation and Electric SystemReliability, June 2011: http://www.eenews.net/assets/2011/06/13/document_pm_02.pdf.
    [xv] http://www.mjbradley.com/sites/default/files/ReliabilityUpdateNovember202011_1.pdf
    [xvi] http://www.nerc.com/files/2011LTRA_Final.pdf
  • An Evangelical Call to Protect Our Unborn From Mercury In Pennsylvania

    December 09,2011, 14:06 PM

    An Evangelical Call to Protect Our Unborn From Mercury

    The Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox

    I'm an evangelical Christian. I believe in Jesus Christ and tell his goodnews at every moment I can. I also believe that life is a precious gift from God and do all in my ministry to protect, preserve, and offer the abundant life to all through Jesus.

    I also believe in medicine, public health, and science. I expect my Pennsylvania elected officials to follow sound medical advice when protecting public health. That's why I am so troubled that Governor Corbett, most of our state legislators, and many of our Congressional leaders appear to take the opposite view in protecting our children when it comes to mercury pollution.

    Across our nation, 1 in 6 children are born with threatening levels of mercury in their blood.[i][ii] Mercury poisoning lowers IQ, impairs neurological function, results in developmental delays, and is linked to cardiovascular disease. There is no known "safe" level of mercury in our unborn children.[iii] Unborn babies and infants are extremely susceptible to mercury, as the bloodbrain barrier is not yet fully developed. Unlike adults, unborn children have no way to excrete mercury. It just keeps recirculating inside their mother's womb. Medical research indicates that mercury cord blood is twice that of their mothers' blood.[iv] Therefore, even if a mother's blood remains below "risk levels" doses, the unborn child's blood does not.

    By December 16, 2011 the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) will issue mercury regulations commonly known as "Utility MACT." This regulation would require coal-fired utilities, the largest domestic mercury pollution source, to curb their mercury emissions by 90%. It would also reduce soot and acid gases, resulting in up to 8.2 billion dollars in health savings in Pennsylvania alone.[v]

    Perhaps because Pennsylvania's utilities make us the nation's number two mercury polluter, Governor Corbett and his administration stand against EPA's clean air regulations and have written to President Obama asking him to delay this life saving regulation. This is simply terrible news for the most vulnerable in our society,unborn children.

    While no one wants unnecessary federal regulations, stopping mercury's impacts on our children remains critical, especially here in Pennsylvania. Our state passed its own mercury emission standard several years ago. However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found the law unconstitutional,and essentially stated that mercury regulation was the responsibility of the Federal government and therefore the EPA. As a result, Pennsylvanians continue burdened with enhanced levels of mercury pollution, particulates, and acid gases that harm our children. Our rivers and lakes remain polluted with mercury and the threat continues expanding.

    Eleven out of the top fifteen utility executives, including Exelon, have stated they can comply with this mercury regulation.[vi] Medical groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics have stated:

    We agree with the strong evidence the EPA provides to support their decision that
    the proposed rule is both appropriate and necessary to protect public health "
    Exposure to likely harm from mercury and methylmercury continues,
    as does strong evidence of exposure to multiple, recognized carcinogens
    and other toxics that cause or increase risk of cardiovascular,
    respiratory, and other acute and chronic systemic damage.[vii]

    Yet so many political leaders continue supporting actions that continue harming our children. Their excuses center on costs, jobs, and electricity reliability. Installing mercury controls will be expensive and will cost a maximum of $7.00 per month per household in electric costs. However, our children are worth it, and the medical cost savings from reduced medications, doctor visits, etc. will more than pay the cost. For each dollar spent on pollution controls, medical savings will return anywhere from five to 13 dollars.[viii]

    Jobs won't be effected either. According to Economic Policy Institute's A Life Saver, Not A Job Killer, the EPA regulations would promote modest job growth[ix]. Finally, recent reports from the Departmentof Energy[x], M. J. Bradley and Associates[xi],and National Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC)[xii] all state reliability questions are manageable or not a concern.

    The 1990 Clean Air Act, signed into law by the elder President Bush, established the requirement for the mercury regulations that are currently being finalized some twenty years later. Unborn children have waited far too long for protections that should have been theirs years ago.

    As an evangelical Christian, my concern is life. Protecting the most vulnerable from threats that are controllable remains a biblical and moral imperative. Today's world provides enough threats to our children's future. Let's not endanger our children with a substance we can control. Exposing children to mercury poisoning in their mother's womb, a poisoning that will last a lifetime, is simply wrong. Let's work together to put our children first and stop the political games that hurt the least of these. As EPA promulgates the mercury regulations next week, let's rejoice for one-step in protecting our unborn children.

    The Rev. Mitchell Hescox is President of the Evangelical Environmental Network and lives in New Freedom, PA. More information on mercury and the unborn is available at www.creationcare/mercury.

    [i]See Mahaffey et al., "Blood Organic Mercury and Dietary MercuryIntake" Environmental HealthPerspectives, 112, #5 (April 2004).

    [ii]Trasande, et al., "Public Health and Economic Consequences of Methyl MercuryToxicity to the Developing Brain," Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol.113, No. 5 (May 2005): p. 590

    [iii]Bose-O'Reilly, et. al., Mercury Exposure and Children's Health, Curr. Probl. Pediatr HealthCare, 2010 September: 40(8): 16-18.

    [iv]http://ccceh.hs.columbia.edu/pdf-papers/LedermanEHP2008.pdf

    [v]http://www.epa.gov/cleanairactbenefits/whereyoulive/pa.html

    [vi]http://www.mjbradley.com/sites/default/files/ReliabilityUpdateNovember202011_1.pdf

    [vii]http://www.lungusa.org/get-involved/advocate/advocacy-documents/epa-mercury-other-health.pdf

    [viii]EPA, Power Plant Mercury and Air Toxics Standards: Overview of Proposed Ruleand Impacts

    [ix]Economic Policy Institute, A Lifesaver,Not A Job Killer: EPA's proposed "air toxic rule" is no threat to job growth,Briefing Paper #312 (June 14, 2011): http://w3.epi-data.org/temp2011/BriefingPaper312%20%282%29.pdf.

    [x]http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2011%20Air%20Quality%20Regulations%20Report_120111.pdf

    [xi]http://www.mjbradley.com/sites/default/files/ReliabilityUpdateNovember202011_1.pdf

    [xii]http://www.nerc.com/files/2011LTRA_Final.pdf

  • Interview with Dr. Phil Landrigan on Mercury and Unborn Children

    October 11,2011, 13:16 PM

    Friends,

    One of EEN's advisers on mercury's impacts on the unborn is Doctor Phil -- but in this case it's Doctor Phil Landrigan (not that other guy). Dr. Landrigan is a pediatrician and one of the world's leading experts on what pollution does to unborn children and young children during their crucial developmental years. He's also a devout Catholic, and a dad and grandad.

    Dr. Landrigan just did an interview for WebMD on mercury and the unborn. We invite you to check it out. Also, be sure not to miss EEN's briefing with Dr. Landrigan on mercury's impact on the unborn.

  • Responding in Love for Our Unborn

    October 11,2011, 09:05 AM

    Responding in Love for Our Unborn

    The Rev.Mitchell C. Hescox

    "If your brother or sister sins,go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you,you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.  (Matthew 18:15-17 NIV)

    Serving as a pastor for almost twenty years, one of the first things I learned was that few people in the church know and even fewer practice the above passage. Every pastor I know has been the subject of numerous parking lot meetings, telephone calls, emails, and even a few letters involving a difference in opinion or understanding.

    The one thing different in my current ministry as President of the Evangelical Environmental Network is that, instead of parking lot meetings, those "well meaning" leaders and church folk use blogs and op-eds on the Internet for sharing their differences. When attacked, I re-read the Book of Acts. In the stories of the Apostle Paul being beaten, shipwrecked, imprisoned, and even left for dead, I find comfort. Paul's travails always put mine in prospective.

    This past week a few brothers and sisters in Christ wrote blogs and opinion pieces deriding my organization and me. They refuse to accept that mercury emitted from coal-fired utilities is a threat to our children and that it is a critically important pro-life issue for me and for more than 100 other evangelical leaders. Forgetting or ignoring the Biblical instruction noted above, these brothers and sisters never once came to me privately. In fact, when I attempted to contact one organization to correct their mistaken view and discuss our position in private, they forwarded my letter to another party who elected to attack me publicly the next day. The attacks have been rather fierce, but the most serious problem is their failure to acknowledge the fact that mercury is a poison to our unborn children.

    One of the body's protective shields against damage to the brain, called "the blood-brain barrier," is not fully developed until the first year of life. Thus, in the unborn child, mercury can cross this incomplete barrier and accumulate in the brain, causing developmental disabilities and brain damage resulting in lowered intelligence and learning problems. This has lifetime implications. One study found that "The resulting loss of intelligence causes diminished economic productivity that persists over the entire lifetime of these children."[i]

    The cause of all the chatter is a proposed EPA rule to be finalized in November that would require utilities to reduce mercury emissions by 90%. Coal fired power plants are the largest single domestic mercury polluter and the basis for this regulation was the 1990 Clean Air Act passed through the efforts of the first President Bush. It has taken twenty years of footdragging by the EPA, Congress, and several Presidential administrations for this regulation to be demanded by the Supreme Court. Twenty years is a long time to wait for protection for the unborn.

    The uproar this week centered on the mercury dose set by EPA. To the best of my knowledge not one of my critics is a medical expert nor is anyone at EEN. But I do trust the American Academy of Pediatrics, the doctors trained medically to care for our children. They wrote:

    We agree with the strong evidence the EPA provides to support their decision that the proposed rule is both appropriate and necessary to protect public health as required under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act. Exposure to likely harm from mercury and methyl mercury continues, as does strong evidence of exposure to multiple, recognized carcinogens and other toxics that cause or increase risk of cardiovascular, respiratory, and other acute and chronic systemic damage.[ii]

    For some perhaps, the attacks stem from fear of government involvement in anything and the EPA in particular. No reasonable Christian wants unnecessary government regulations. But, contrary to what you may have been told or read, many utilities support this regulation of mercury (known as "Utility MACT"). Exelon,Constellation Energy, Pacific Gas and Electric, to name a few, are electric power companies that strongly support mercury reductions.[iii] In fact, a large percentage of generating stations have already installed the required pollution equipment either as the result of controlling other pollutants or individual state regulations. Even with the compliance by many utilities, mercury still poses a threat to our unborn and without this regulation toxic mercury levels are projected to increase.

    Corporations, just like people, are fallen and live in a fallen world. Although companies have known for years that these regulations would be issued to protect our unborn, they delayed and stalled in their self-interest, not for the benefit of the 1 in 6 unborn children threatened by mercury poisoning. This is simply sin. Something all of us do far too often.

    The reality of sin is also why I support a reasonably regulated free market. There are libertarians and others who believe in a totally free market; they are the ones speaking the loudest against our position. Consider the unleashing of anarchy if all government and regulation are removed. Try driving on a road without speed limits or eating foods that don't have the proper labeling, especially if you have an allergy. It's simply naïve to believe that corporations, like individuals, will always do the "right" thing. Sin is always present and that why we need Jesus and the delegations of good government He would desire.

    Standing in opposition to laissez-faire economic principles is why several of the posts this week called me a liberal. I have been a registered Republican since I was old enough to vote and, worked for 14 years in the business world. Even though it doesn't really fit, I'm happy to wear the"liberal" label because it's the same derogatory label placed upon the Christian saints I admire most. William Wilberforce, Charles Finney, William Booth, Orange Scott, Luther Lee, and John Wesley were tagged with the same fame. All of these Godly men worked tirelessly, empowered by the Holy Spirit to change society and its laws to end slavery, stop child labor, provide women rights,and protect the poor. As 19th Century, evangelical William Arthur wrote:

    Nothing short of the general renewal of society ought to satisfy any Soldier of Christ " Much as Satan glorifies in his power over the individual, how much greater must be his glory over a nation embodying, in it laws and usages, disobedience to God, wrong to man, and contamination to morals? To destroy all holds of evil; to root out sin out of institutions; to hold up to the view the gospel ideal to the righteous nation " is one of the first duties of those position or mode of thought gives them any influence in general questions. In so doing they are glorifying the Redeemer, by displacing the benignity of his influence over human society, and removing hindrances to individual conversions, some of which act by direct incentive to vice, other by upholding a state of things the acknowledged of which is, "Forget God."

    Satan might be content to let Christianity turn over the subsoil, if he is in perpetuity to sow the surface with thorns and briers; but the gospel is come to renew the face of the earth.[iv]

    Renewal and transformation by Christ for individuals, for institutions, and our nation is at the heart of the gospel. God has called me to this ministry. Having a few brothers and sisters launch a few attacks will not deter me in my calling; too many children face mercury poisoning to worry about being hurt by verbal or written stoning. I will pray for those who attack and will ask God to forgive my anger that, all too humanly, occasionally surfaces.

    Instead of giving any credence to these false attacks, I ask you to consider the facts:

    • One in six unborn children face mercury poisoning in the United States.[v]
    • The largest domestic source for the poison is coal fired electric utilities.
    • The American Academy of Pediatrics confirms the EPA proposed regulation is appropriate and necessary.
    • A large percentage of utilities support the regulation.
    • Organized labor's policy think-tank wrote that the rule was "A Life Saver Not A Job Killer."[vi]
    • A Congressional Research Service Report stated that industry claims were overstated.[vii]

    Children are God's most precious gift and I believe they are worth protecting. Reducing mercury is pro-life no matter how many parking lot conversations or Internet posts say differently.

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    [i]Trasande, et al., "Public Health and EconomicConsequences of Methyl Mercury Toxicity to the Developing Brain," EnvironmentalHealth Perspectives, Vol. 113, No. 5 (May 2005): p. 590.

    [ii]http://www.lungusa.org/get-involved/advocate/advocacy-documents/epa-mercury-other-health.pdf

    [iii]http://www.exeloncorp.com/assets/newsroom/speeches/docs/speech_Alexander_PhilaEPAHearing_110524.pdf

    [iv] William Arthur, TheTongue of Fire, 1854

    [v] See Kathryn R. Mahaffey et al., "Blood OrganicMercury and Dietary Mercury Intake: National Health and Nutrition ExaminationSurvey, 1999 and 2000," EnvironmentalHealth Perspectives, 112, #5 (April 2004): http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/members/2003/6587/6587.html, and Leonardo Trasande, et al., Public Health andEconomic Consequences of Methyl Mercury Toxicity to the Developing Brain, Environmental HealthPerspectives, Vol. 113, No. 5 (May 2005): p. 593; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1257552/pdf/ehp0113-000590.pdf. Mahaffey usedthe 1-in-6 figure in a presentation she made while she was the EPA's topmercury scientist. See http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/fish/forum/2004/presentations/monday/mahaffey.pdf.

    [vi]http://www.epi.org/publication/a_life_saver_not_a_job_killer/

    [vii]http://www.lawandenvironment.com/uploads/file/CRS-EPA.pdf

  • Study Explores Inorganic Mercury in Soil

    July 20,2011, 09:33 AM

    by Alexei Laushkin

    What is the mercury content of soil near coal-fired powerplants? A new study by the University of Indiana at Purdue is among the first to investigate these mercury deposits. The report which is out in this July's Water, Air, & Soil Pollution reports that soil near coal-fired power plants has increased levels of mercury which than enter regional watersheds contaiminating fish.

    "We are fouling our local as well as global environment and little has been done to stop it. It all comes down to the choices we make to produce energy." said Gabriel M. Filippeli, Ph.D., profesor of earth science at Indaina University.

    For more information on the study click here.

  • Christians Weigh In on Mercury & The Unborn

    June 29,2011, 08:48 AM

    From Today's Kansas City Star.

    "There are 84 hazardous air pollutants from power plants, including acid gases, dioxins, lead and other metals, and mercury. Many are carcinogens. Many also are linked to childhood developmental problems. The best-known is mercury.

    Mercury settles in water and accumulates in fish. Ingesting it can cause developmental birth defects and damage a child's memory and ability to learn. Mercury also damages the kidneys and liver.

    The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote to Jackson urging her to stand firm on the toxics rule. The National Association of Evangelicals also urged its members to write to Washington in support of it.

    "We've had two decades of bipartisan foot-dragging, with the courts finally ordering the federal government to enforce the law and protect the unborn," the Evangelical Environmental Network said on its website".

    Read the full article here.

  • Let Freedom Ring!

    June 27,2011, 07:10 AM

    by Candace Carrillo used through flickr creative commons


    by Candace Carrillo used through flickr creative commons

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, - Declaration of Independence, 1776

    by Mitch Hescox

    My evangelical Christian faith holds life as both precious and sacred, as does the founding document of these United States. However, such fundamental rights and our government's ability to secure these rights is based upon knowing the truth about things that might contribute to or impede life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This is why the First Amendment to our Constitution provides for freedom of the press. But for journalists to fulfill their beneficial function in our society they must get us in the neighborhood of the truth. When they actually lead us away from the truth, especially when it comes to human health - something absolutely fundamental to our pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - then they not only fail to fulfill their constructive role of finding the truth, they find themselves in opposition to the values of our country.

    A perfect example of such journalistic failure appeared in an editorial by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on June 13, 2011, entitled "The EPA's War on Jobs," criticizing the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed rule to reduce mercury pollution.

    The WSJ is one of the most respected news and financial publications in the world. Yet how its editorial board could not do a thorough fact check before printing this piece is troubling.

    Below are just a few examples:

    First, the Journal states "even by the EPA's lowball estimates, it is the most expensive rule in the agency's history." Contrary to the assertion that EPA does "low ball estimates," it is a historical fact that the opposite is true; EPA traditionally overestimates the cost of compliance. This is especially the case with the Clean Air Act regulations. Cleaning up acid rain provides most comparable analogy to the proposed mercury regulations; it's the same industry with similar technology. During the discussions on acid rain, EPA estimated $750 per ton of sulfur dioxide removal, the utility industry suggested $1500 per ton, and the actual cost less than $200 per ton.1 As for the claim that it will be an expensive rule, this is true. But it is an investment that will produce a net increase in jobs and reap $5-13 in health benefits for every $1 spent. That's quite a deal.

    The WSJ editorial does mention the claims about the terrific health benefits the regulation will produce, but wrongly asserts that because they are primarily from particulate reductions rather than from mercury, that this is analogous to "a corporation double-counting revenue."

    There is no double-counting here whatsoever. The particulate reductions achieved by this regulation are new and additional reductions, resulting in new and additional health benefits.

    By falsely ignoring the substantial health benefits from the particulate and other toxin reductions, the WSJ then claims that we will have to spend $1,847 to achieve $1 in benefits from mercury reduction. That's like purchasing a new car for $20,000, removing a front tire, and then saying that tire is worth about what we paid for the whole car.

    Another false claim is that the process for creating this regulation has been "overly rushed," and that industry needs more time to comment on the proposed regulation. How is something 20 years in the making overly rushed?

    From the perspective of human health, from the perspective of providing all unborn children a fuller life, liberty from the debilitating impacts of mercury poisoning, and a chance at happiness, freedom from this pollution is long overdue. Overly rushed? Quite the opposite.

    The WSJ editorial also falsely claims that "reliability downgrades will hit the South and Midwest."

    But utility representatives themselves debunk this. In recent testimony at EPA's public hearing in Philadelphia, Exelon's Bruce Alexander stated that "nothing about this rule [the mercury regulation] will jeopardize the reliability of the electric system." 2 Testifying before a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing, Michael Bradley, representing a coalition of utilities, stated that "we do not believe compliance with the rule will compromise the reliability of the electric system."3 And a recent report from the Bipartisan Policy Centers says, "While an emergency reliability issue is unlikely and should be preventable with proper planning and oversight, DOE and FERC have authority to address such situations if they arise."4

    Lastly, the WSJ editorial quotes the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers opinion that the mercury regulation would be a job killer. While the IBEW source was not revealed, this simply doesn't match with EPA modeling that provides a modest 31,000 construction jobs and net 9000 new permanent positions.5 Nor does it match the conclusion of a just-released report from the Economic Policy Institute, the labor movement's premiere analytical shop. It states: "The toxics rule would have a modest positive net impact on overall employment, likely leading to the creation of 28,000 to 158,000 jobs between now and 2015."6

    All Americans have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Let's stop jeopardizing our well-being by partisan politics, misstatements, or poor research. We can have true dialogue that rises above today's ranker. For the sake of our children, let us uphold the values enshrined in our Declaration of Independence, which call us to stop the mercury poisoning of children here today and those yet to be born.

    The Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox is the President/C.E.O. of the Evangelical Environmental Network. To learn more and act on mercury & the unborn click here.

    _____________

    1 William Reilly, The EPA's Cost Underruns. Washington Post, Oct. 14, 2003.

    2
    http://www.exeloncorp.com/assets/newsroom/speeches/docs/speech_Alexander_PhilaEPAHearing_110524.pdf

    3 U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power Hearing on "The American Energy Initiative" regarding Recent EPA Rulemakings Relating to Boilers, Cement Manufacturing Plants, and Utilities, April 15, 2011. For Bradley's testimony, go to:

    http://republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/Media/file/Hearings/Energy/041511_2/Bradley.pdf.

    4 Bi-Partisan Policy Center, Environmental Regulation and Electric System Reliability, June 2011: http://www.eenews.net/assets/2011/06/13/document_pm_02.pdf.

    5 EPA, Power Plant Mercury and Air Toxics Standards: Overview of Proposed Rule and Impacts

    6 Economic Policy Institute, A Lifesaver, Not A Job Killer: EPA's proposed "air toxic rule" is no threat to job growth, Briefing Paper #312 (June 14, 2011):
    http://w3.epi-data.org/temp2011/BriefingPaper312%20%282%29.pdf

  • Fish Stories

    June 08,2011, 14:17 PM

    The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) recently published an op-ed "The Myth of Killer Mercury" by Willie Soon and Paul Driessen. You can find the original piece here. EEN submitted the following note to the editors of the WSJ and received no reply. Please note this piece contains footnotes linked at the end of the author's tagline.

    by Mitch Hescox

    We all tell fish stories. Those wonderful stories of the fish that got away, and it was much larger in the veracity of our imagination than reality. All of us tell tales greater than the truth. Maybe the motivation for the fish story resides in our desire for others to believe our stories; or perhaps we become so convicted in our beliefs that the reality of the truth goes beyond our capacity to see past our prejudices. Researchers know that no one is unbiased " that is why peer-review is so critical. Having others evaluate one's work minimizes the bias.

    photo by Jasin Bushnaief used through Flickr Creative Commons
    photo by Jasin Bushnaief used through Flickr Creative Commons

    Unfortunately, fish stories make it more and more into respected publications. Certainly, I have made mistakes in my writing, but through proper vetting my embellishments are reduced and the truth hopefully emerges. Seeing something in print filled with misstatements or that is poorly researched raises my blood pressure and also raises the question the author's intent. Just last week the Wall Street Journal published, "The Myth of Killer Mercury" by Willie Soon and Paul Driessen. The op-ed clearly stands against the new EPA proposed standards for mercury and other air pollutants, something my organization supports. Hopefully the authors just made errors in research and were not attempting any misinformation. Below are just a few of the op-ed's faulty assertions with an attempt to correct the record.

    " EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson claims that while the regulations will cost electricity producers $10.9 billion annually, they will save 17,000 lives and generate up to $140 billion in health benefits.

    The EPA is not claiming that the 17,000 lives saved and $140 billion in health benefits will come from mercury reductions. Rather, these particular savings come from the health benefits of the reductions in sulfur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter, and the EPA makes this abundantly clear. For these claims there is a substantial factual basis. It is hard to understand how Soon and Driessen could have misunderstood this.

    " Mercury is found in air, water, rocks, soil and trees, which absorb it from the environment. This is why our bodies evolved with proteins and antioxidants that help protect us from this and other potential contaminants"

    Health professionals for over 100 years have known that mercury is a serious threat. The term "Mad-Hatter" started from factory workers inhaling mercury used in the felt hat industry in 19th century England. While mercury poses less of a health problem to adults, unborn children are extremely vulnerable because their bodies are too young to have developed our natural defenses against it. Currently 1 in 6 unborn children have harmful levels of mercury in their blood.1 The FDA has issued detailed warnings on fish consumption during pregnancy and all 50 states have either complete or partial fish advisories for locally caught fish.2,3 Soon and Driessen must know that the unborn and young children are much more vulnerable.

    " But U.S. forest fires emit at least 44 tons per year; cremation of human remains discharges 26 tons"

    While reputable researchers have estimated that forest fires place 44 tons tons of mercury into the air each year as Soon and Driessen claim, the mercury actually originates from coal-burning power plants, the very sources Soon and Driessen don't want us to regulate. The emissions from burning coal fall into forests, and then spread from the hot updrafts as the forest burns.4 As for their assertion about cremation, according to the latest mercury assessment, crematoriums emit less than 1 ton, not the 26 tons they erroneously claim.5 It's hard to understand how Soon and Driessen could have so completely mischaracterized and misstated these facts.

    Soon and Driessen also seem to place the blame for our mercury problem on foreign nations. Depending upon where you live, anywhere from 10 to 80% of US mercury pollution comes from domestic sources6 and over 50% of domestic anthropogenic mercury emissions come from coal-burning power plants, making them the largest such source.7 Global mercury emissions do remain large in Asia, but I for one don't wish to wait for the Chinese to protect our unborn children. Individual state efforts8,9 prove we can reduce mercury and the threats to our unborn. With a national standard, we can continue removing mercury as a threat by reducing 91% of the mercury emissions and 55% of the SO2 emissions from the largest source of these emissions in the US: coal-burning power plants.10

    " A 17-year evaluation of mercury risk to babies and children by the Seychelles Children Development Study found "no measurable cognitive or behavioral effects" in children who eat several servings of ocean fish every week, much more than most Americans do". Instead, the agency based its "safe" mercury criteria on a study of Faroe Islanders"

    The authors place huge weight on the Seychelles Island study over against the Faroe Islands study. First, the Faroe Islands research selection came not from the EPA but from a report by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, who clearly thought it was appropriate. Second, there is no mention of a similar study with matching results to that of the Faroe Islands study, completed in New Zealand. Finally, the updated research from the Seychelles study (2010) correlates to both the Faroe Islands and New Zealand research.11 The selective use of an older study, which itself has been superseded by an updated version that now agrees with the other studies, raises serious questions about the reliability of this op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.
    We have a tendency to laugh at fish stories. Our hearts know that when told at a family picnic they are harmless and part of our American culture. Yet our new American culture allows fish stories to end up as op-eds in the Wall Street Journal. The unfortunate "fish story" here is that many fish contain dangerous levels of mercury, and the fish threaten our unborn children. They deserve more than a fish story; the unborn deserve our protection and an abundant life.

    The Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox is President/C.E.O. of The Evangelical Environmental Network, a ministry dedicated to promoting Creation Care: It's a Matter of Life.

    ___

    [1]Maffey et al., "Blood Organic Mercury and Dietary Mercury Intake",Environmental Health Perspectives, 112, #5 (April 2004).

    [2]http://water.epa.gov/scitech/swguidance/fishshellfish/outreach/factsheet.cfm

    [3]http://toxics.usgs.gov/highlights/mercnet.html

    [4]http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=110320

    [5] EPA website, http://www.epa.gov/mercury/about.html. Data from the 2005 National EmissionsInventory

    [6]Selin, "Global Biogeochemical Cycling of Mercury: A Review," Annual Review of Environmental. Resources(2009) Vol. 34 (2009): p. 48

    [7]EPA website, http://www.epa.gov/mercury/about.html. Data from the 2005 National EmissionsInventory

    [8]Florida DEP, Integrating Atmospheric Mercury Deposition with Aquatic Cycling inSouth Florida, Nov 2003.

    [9]Mark Smith, http://www.env.state.ma.us/eea/09-met-conf-presentations/met_event_sharon_weber.pdf

    [10]EPA, Power Plant Mercury and Air ToxicsStandards: Overview of Proposed Rule and Impacts, p. 2.

    [11]Lynch, ML, L-S Huang, C Cox, JJ Strain, GJ Myers, MP Bonham, CF Shamlaye, AStokes-Riner, JMW Wallance, EM Duffy, TW Clarkson and PW Davidson. 2010. Varying coefficient function models to explore interactions between maternal nutritional status andprenatal methylmercury toxicity in the Seychelles Child Development Nutrition Study. Environmental Research http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2010.09.005.

  • The Rev. Mitch Hescox's Testimony to the EPA Hearing in Philadelphia on May 24, 2011

    May 26,2011, 08:04 AM

    Good Morning;

    I am the Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox, President & C.E.O.of the Evangelical Environmental Network, a group founded in 1993 dedicated to helping others understand that creation care is a matter of life. Before my current ministry, I served for 18years as Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Shrewsbury, PA and before that served for 14 years as a worldwide supplier of grinding/processing equipment to coal-firedutilities and coal mining. Coal has been in my blood before birth as my father, most uncles, grandfathers, and childhood friends all worked at one time or another as miners or in coal-fired electricgenerating stations.

    Testimony

    Christians are called to protect life; it's sacred, and for most evangelicals that includes the unborn. We take very seriously the biblical belief that life begins at conception as God knits us together:

    Psalm139:13 (ESV)

    For youformed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.

    The unborn are the weakest members of our society. We must protect them and insure their right to an abundant life. We already lose 1.2 million unborn children in the United States to the painful choice of abortion each year, but few realize that each year we jeopardize another 700,000 unbornchildren to the neurological damage from mercury poisoning. One in six babies is born with harmful levels of mercury in their blood,[i] and coal-burning power plants are the largest source of domestic mercury pollution.

    Mercury is extremely toxic to the brain and nervous system, especially to the rapidly developing brain of the unborn child during early pregnancy. Simply consuming mercury-contaminated fish during pregnancy exposes the unborn. Eating fish with its high levels of Omega 3's and other healthy nutrients should be encouraged,but most physicians recommend eating only one serving per week as mercury accumulates in the unborn's brain, causing developmental disabilities, resulting in lowered intelligence, and learning problems. This has lifetime implications. One study found that "The resulting loss of intelligence causes diminished economic productivity that persists over the entire lifetime of these children."[ii] We are hindering our children from an abundant life and their pursuit of the American dream because we have failed to clean up this terrible poison.

    Luke 18:15-16 (ESV)

    Now they were bringing even infants to him that he mighttouch them. And when the disciples saw it, theyrebukedthem. But Jesus called them to him, saying,"Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.

    Twenty years of inaction by the EPA, Congress, and the utility industry is far too long. In ourt radition and in many other faith traditions, children are special " indeed all life is sacred. We have waited since the amended 1990 Clean Air Act signed by President George H. W. Bush for mercury protection for the unborn to be instituted. Some here today will claim that the EPA is acting too quickly and more time is needed. How many lives have been hindered by our inaction to limit our unborn children's exposure to this threat? One child hindered from reaching his or her fullest potential because of our sinful inaction is too many.

    In May 2011, I walked over 300 miles from West Virginia toWashington, DC as part of our Creation Care Walk. We traversed areas of mountaintop removal,some of the most beautiful landscapes God created in the eastern United States, rural towns, suburbs, and cities. However, the most horrific signs along the way were the mercury fish advisories posted along so many of our streams and rivers. Mercury contaminates over 6 million acres offreshwater lakes, 46,000 miles of streams, and 225,000 wetland acres across the United States. Much of our fresh water in every corner of America contains dangerous mercury levels. In fact, every state has some type of fish consumption advisory, including the recommendation for pregnant women not to eat any locally caught fish. Just three weeks ago, we had a family outing to Valley Forge National Park. My daughter-in-law is a photographer and as we passed the covered bridge she asked for a photo. We walked around the bridge and right there was a sign posted, "Attention All Fishermen " No Fish May be Killed or Held in Possession From This Stream." Just 30 feet away, a man was fishing. Returning home, we went to the Pennsylvania Fish Advisory Website and learned that the stream was filled with both mercury and PCB's.

    In a recent meeting with a pastor from York County, PA, he shared how his family once depended on locally caught fish as a source of protein. Now he is afraid of even taking his sons fishing in Pennsylvania because of the mercury warnings. It is time to act. No more delays, no more inaction. We must protect our unborn from mercury poisoning, the weakest in our society.

    Psalm82:3 (ESV)

    Give justice totheweak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.

    Our Holy Scriptures calls us to defend the weak. Others may offer testimony that this rule will be far too costly, hurting the poor. They cite the 10 billion dollars per year cost to implement the complete rule for mercury and the other toxins. Ten billion is a huge sum, but distributed per consumer in the United States results in an average maximum cost of $7.00 per month per household. While the poorest might face impacts, the pollution reductions will return $5 " 13 in health benefits forevery $1 spent on emission reduction.[iii] Still others will claim a massive loss injobs in our still faltering economy. These facts simply do not add up. While Pennsylvania may lose some jobs, the nation will have a net increase of approximately 30,000 jobs during installation.

    Lastly, some at today's hearing will cry foul. They will state mercury emitted, especially from Asia, provides the source for the threat to our unborn. Significant mercury transports into the United States, but in many states east of the Mississippi, the largest mercury deposition comes from domestic sources.[iv] International mercury sources must be addressed. But for us to ignore our responsibility wanting for others violates both the Biblical instruction to order our house:

    1 Timothy3:4a (ESV)

    He must manage his own household well,"

    and something just about every mother, including mine, said at one time or another, "Two wrongs don't make a right." To wait for China to clean up its act before we protect our unborn children from our own mess makes absolutely no sense.

    Mercury threatens one (1) in six (6) unborn children, and we can help them and others. This is a pro-life Biblical imperative and I therefore urge implementation of the NESHAP proposed rule for utility boilers to address the largest domestic source of mercury poisoning without any additional delays or weakening modifications.

    [i]See Mahaffey et al., "Blood Organic Mercuryand Dietary Mercury Intake" EnvironmentalHealth Perspectives, 112, #5 (April 2004).

    [ii] Trasande, et al., "Public Health and EconomicConsequences of Methyl Mercury Toxicity to the Developing Brain," Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol.113, No. 5 (May 2005): p. 590.

    [iii] EPA, Power Plant Mercury and Air Toxics Standards:Overview of Proposed Rule and Impacts, p. 2.

    [iv] Noelle Selin, "Global Biogeochemical Cycling ofMercury: A Review," Annual Review ofEnvironmental. Resources (2009) Vol.34 (2009): p. 52; http://globalchange.mit.edu/files/document/MITJPSPGC_Reprint_09-15.pdf

  • Correcting False and Misleading Impressions About EEN's Efforts to Protect the Unborn From Mercury

    May 26,2011, 07:29 AM

    by Mitch Hescox

    EEN's long-time critic, Dr. Cal Beisner, is once again disagreeing with us, this time over our efforts to protect the unborn from mercury pollution. Dr. Beisner had a post on Crosswalk and in the Washington Times with several inaccuracies and misrepresentations. We asked him privately (Mt. 18:15) to retract these false impressions. Instead, in his newsletter put out after we had asked for a retraction he repeated the same inaccuracies without correcting the record.

    Therefore, so as not to let these misrepresentations stand and continue to mislead, we are ourselves putting forward the truth of the situation, correcting what was in Crosswalk and the Washington Times.

    1. Dr. Beisner claimed that our fact sheet made the following statement: "The main source of mercury pollution is dirty air released by coal-burning power plants." He put these words in quotation marks, yet we cannot find such a statement in our fact sheet. He went on to say that what he quoted -- which, again, we cannot find -- is "suspect," because a good portion of mercury pollution comes from foreign or international sources.

    Here's the problem with Dr. Beisner's presentation on this point. The very fact sheet he quotes states this: "coal-burning power plants are the largest source of domestic mercury pollution." We say over and over again in this fact sheet and elsewhere on our website and in our other materials that the largest domestic source is coal-burning power plants. Furthermore, in the fact sheet we have a major section entitled, "Where the Mercury Comes From," which explains, among other things, that some of the mercury pollution here in the U.S. comes from other countries. We even have a map of the U.S. that shows where the larger domestic depositions of mercury pollution are. We have been very clear on this point. How Dr. Beisner could think otherwise is beyond us.

    2. In our materials we put forward the fact that 1-in-6 babies in the U.S. are born with harmful levels of mercury in their blood. Dr. Beisner states: "The campaign's literature offers no source for the statistics [meaning the 1-in-6 citation]. Their most likely origin, however, seems to be an ad by the environmental advocacy group ..."

    The claim by Dr. Beisner that our literature offers no source for this fact is demonstrably false. The EEN fact sheet he references clearly cites the following peer-reviewed article as the basis for the fact that 1-in-6 babies in the U.S. are born with harmful levels of mercury in their blood: Mahaffey et al., "Blood Organic Mercury and Dietary Mercury Intake" Environmental Health Perspectives, 112, #5 (April 2004). http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/members/2003/6587/6587.html

    For Dr. Beisner to then speculate in public that it could have come from an ad by an environmental group is quite sad, when, again, it is clear that it came from a peer-reviewed journal article. (Even if Dr. Beisner missed the citation, he could have contacted us and asked for the citation instead of making such false speculations in public.)

    Again, we pointed out these inaccuracies privately to Dr. Beisner, asking for a retraction. He didn't respond. Subsequently he sent out a newsletter with the same inaccuracies discussed above. This has led us to post this correction for the record.

    The Rev. Mitch Hescox is President/CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network.

  • Mercury and the Unborn Child

    March 18,2011, 05:02 AM

    We Stand in Support of New EPA Mercury Standard

    by Mitch Hescox

    On March 16, 2011, the EPA proposed the First National Standard for Mercury Pollution from Power Plants. This new national standard offers a historic opportunity for the evangelical Christian Church to put its preaching into action. Life, as sacred, has long been a foundational tenet of our faith. We are pro-life and have struggled long to protect the unborn from harm, especially abortion. Over 1,000,000 unborn children die each year from abortions. However, another great threat faces the unborn, mercury poisoning. Unborn children are the most at risk as they are developmentally unable to protect themselves.

    According to research, at least 1 in 12, and as many as 1 in 6 women of childbearing age have unsafe levels of mercury in her blood, enough to put a baby at risk for brain damage, autism,and other neurological imparities. These effects are not just temporary but are irreversible. Other research depicts that mercury levels continue elevating in American women, putting more unborn at risk. Mercury easily transmits from mother to child. One UCLA research project found mercury in 30% of US females of childbearing age in 2006, up from only 2%of same age group in 1999. This threat to our unborn is simply not acceptable.

    The primary domestic source of mercury comes from the burning of coal. Industrial and utility coal consumption represents at least 87% and as much as 99% of the mercury poisoning of the unborn. Smokestacks emit the mercury that then falls into our streams, lakes, and rivers. Fish consume the mercury we eat the fish and for pregnant mothers the contaminated fish finally accumulates in the weakest -- unborn children.

    This isn't a limited problem. Mercury contaminates over 6 million acres of freshwater lakes, 46,000 miles of streams, and 225,000 wetland acres across the United States. The vast majority of our fresh water in every corner of America contains dangerous mercury levels. In fact, every state has some type of fish consumption advisory, including the recommendation for pregnant women not to eat any locally caught fish.

    The Evangelical Environmental Network is putting action to our faith by standing in support of EPA's proposed standards limiting mercury and its threats to the unborn. The standard, twenty years in the making reduces 91% mercury released to the air. Some will attempt to weaken this proposed standard. However, unborn children deserve our greatest protection, and we believe the rule as proposed provides the best protection for the weakest in our society, the unborn child. This is an issue in life's sacredness. We encourage all who stand for life to stand with us and especially the unborn.

    For more information, please visit www.creationcare.org/

Copyright © 2011 Evangelical Environmental Network.
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