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June 27, 2010 at 12:00 PM

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Gov. Chris Gregoire's negotiations with TransAlta

Posted by Letters editor

Stand up for children’s health

This week, Gov. Chris Gregoire announced that she was finalizing a deal with the TransAlta coal plant concerning their mercury pollution [“Wash., TransAlta reach deal on mercury, haze,” Local News, seattletimes.com, June 21]. I am worried that this deal does not do enough to protect my family from mercury poisoning.

I have 2-month-old son. My doctors have warned me to stop eating certain types of fish because of mercury contamination. Mercury poisoning can cause brain damage, birth defects and other major health problems and is especially dangerous to children, pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers like me.

The TransAlta coal plant is Washington’s largest source of toxic mercury. In many other states, coal plants have been required to cut their mercury pollution by 90 percent or more, but Gov. Gregoire has let our only coal plant off the hook with a promise to cut only half of their mercury pollution. Furthermore, the pollution deal is unenforceable and doesn’t offer any plan in the event that the state’s largest polluter breaks their word.

Gov. Gregoire is also holding closed-door negotiations with the coal plant over their global-warming pollution. I’m afraid that she might once again choose to prioritize corporate profits over the people’s health. They want to reach a deal to transition the plant off coal by 2025, but that’s ten years later than what energy experts say is possible and ten years too late for my son’s health.

Gov. Gregoire needs to stand up for our children’s health and tell TransAlta to stop burning coal by 2015.

— Maritess Zurbano, Seattle

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