GRASSROOTS CAMPAIGN TO REDUCE TOXIC MERCURY LEVELS IN FISH-Andrew Stelzer

06/23/04

Yesterday, WMNF reported on a nationwide day of action to raise attention about Mercury pollution in the nations water and fish. Today, a local non –profit group, the Florida PIRG launched a grassroots campaign to go door to door and get people involved in letting government leaders know that Mercury pollution is an issue that’s important to the people. Standing in front of a 30 foot long inflatable fish, Vance Tys, the owner of Tightlines tackle shop in Tampa, is that the peoples involvement is the only chance for preventing the Bush administration from approving air pollution standards written by corporate contributing power companies, who don’t want to clean up their power plants.

ACT ‘You know I’ve been fishin Tampa bay fort 46 years in I’ve seen the water quality go up and down. I quit, went to freshwater, after 6 or 7 years, the quality of freshwater went down….I know I read a lot of articles in the 80s about acid rain and mercury pollution and now its back. It’s appalling that the head of the EPA ignored the public testimony. We can lower emissions and we want to ignore it out of sheer greed…we can say, no we dont want mercury in our waters!

Orian Wiel from the Florida state PIRG explained how Mercury goes from power plants, to the water, to fish, and then begins causing damage to women and children.

ACT ‘Like lead, mercury is a neurotoxin, it hurts brain, hurts woman’s brain. Children are currently eating mercury and other fish.

Florida PIRG members will be going door to door all summer long, raising awareness about the dangers of Mercury, and the Bush administrations refusal to enforce the clan air act, which says that companies must pollute the air a little as possible. The bush administration is asking companies to reduce their emissions by 70 by 2017, but many environmental advocates say it could be reduced by 90 percent by 2008.

ACT “Earlier this year, the EPA estimated that 1 in 6 babies…so 600 thousand of those

The campaign is also trying to get Congressman Young to sign on to a dear colleague letter to EPA administrator Mike Leavitt, asking him to enforce higher pollution standards.

And fisherman like Tys are getting increasingly involved in an issue that effects their livelihood.

ACT It effects my business but even more than that it’s…around the country communities have realized that they can do more for the community. We’ve had enough. They say we have the technology, just in the name of greed they’ve convinced the EPA. ‘I try to bring a lot of young people into fishing, I try to get people to catch game fish that were allowed to eat, and people are getting out of fishing. You need to go play golf. But now, I teach people how to become better fisherman, so the fish they catch they cant eat. If the technology isn’t there thats one thing---TECO!!!-I understand business, but business at what cost. WILL THE INDUSTRY GET INVOLVED?---they aren’t informed, I’m tryin to get people informed. The list will come out and that’s horrific to me. People are harming their unborn...fisherman. It’s a business ting but I’ve seen how hard we’ve worked as a community that to let power companies run all over it—the only control we have over these companies.

For more information about the campaign to prevent mercury pollution, go to www.floridapirg.org

comments powered by Disqus