|EERC senior researcher provides testimony on mercury legislation|
Steve Benson, senior research manager at the Energy & Environmental Research Center, has been invited to testify before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works at the hearing on mercury legislation Tuesday, May 13. Benson is part of a prestigious group of panelists representing government, private industry, and research entities. The hearing will be held at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.
The purpose of the hearing is to discuss legislation that involves bills to address both mercury air emission and mercury exports (S. 2643, S. 906, and H.R. 1534).
Benson’s testimony will focus on the status of mercury control technologies and specific issues associated with control of mercury emission from coal-fired power plants. He will address the challenges the power industry will face in meeting stricter mercury regulation and the importance of continued investment in research, development, demonstration, and commercialization of mercury control technologies.
“On Feb. 8, 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit voted to vacate the Clean Air Mercury Rule, requirements which utilities had been preparing for,” said Benson. “Instead, the utilities may be required to meet more stringent standards at all power facilities. The necessary mercury control technologies needed to maintain 90% control throughout the entire coal-fired power industry are not yet proven because of the wide variability in coal and plant configurations.”
While advancements have been made, many significant challenges and questions remain, and longer-term testing is needed. “This is of critical national importance as our nation faces concerns over energy and electrical shortages, yet calls for environmental stewardship,” Benson said.
Dr. Benson’s testimony is based on more than 20 years of research conducted through the EERC’s Center for Air Toxic Metals® (CATM®) as well as projects supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the utility industry. The EERC is recognized as a world leader for mercury behavior in combustion systems, mercury measurement, and mercury emission control technologies.
“The EERC is known as the premier center for mercury control and measurement,” said EERC Director Gerald Groenewold. ”Over the past decade, the EERC has conducted over 80 mercury field tests at more than 60 power plants in the United States and Canada related to mercury measurement and evaluation of control technologies. We are poised to provide long-term solutions to controlling mercury emissions.”
This is the second time Benson has provided testimony in the past five years. He appeared before the Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate Change, and Nuclear Safety in June 2003.
-- Jan Orvik, Writer/Editor, University Relations, email@example.com, 777-3621