Florida environmental regulators want to set a standard for the maximum amount of mercury allowed in the state’s fish. Mercury contamination is a global problem, and officials with the state Department of Environmental Protection are holding public meetings to show that Florida needs to do its part to curb it.
This Tuesday through Friday, the department is holding public meetings across the state to make its case for standards that, it says, would make fish safer to eat. On Tuesday in Tallahassee, the agency’s Jan Mandrup-Poulsen said key industries, including coal-fire power plants, have already been on board with helping curb the problem.
“And they have already put in enormous technology to reduce the mercury emissions. Also, the waste management facilities back, a decade ago, were identified as being a big source, and those have fallen off dramatically," he says.
Environmental officials will take public input on this issue until Aug. 27. Then they will publish a mercury-level recommendation, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must approve.
Florida has about 13,000 square miles of lakes and rivers considered impaired because of fish mercury contamination. Studies show human activity is responsible for two-thirds of it.