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PGE Wants Tradable Credits For Cutting Toxic Mercury Emissions

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:54 PM
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PGE Wants Tradable Credits For Cutting Toxic Mercury Emissions
Portland General Electric has surprised environmentalists by backing tighter -- and probably pricier -- controls on toxic mercury emissions from its coal-burning power plant near Boardman.

But there's a catch that environmental groups hotly oppose: PGE wants credits for limiting its mercury output that it could sell to power plants elsewhere in the country, allowing other plants to continue polluting. Selling the credits would help offset the costs of installing mercury control equipment at PGE's plant, so the full costs would not be passed to customers, said Stephen Quennoz, PGE's vice president of power supply, at a public hearing last week.

Environmental groups contend that selling the credits would let PGE make money from controlling pollution that it should be cutting back anyway. They also argue the trading of credits would merely shift releases of the toxic compound from plants that clean up their act to others that don't, putting neighbors of the dirtier plants at risk.

Some states prohibit their power plants from participating in such credit-trading. But the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is proposing to allow participation by the Boardman plant, Oregon's only coal-burning plant.

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