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Illinois Coal Plants Ahead of EPA Mercury Rule

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Darek Redos/AFP/Getty Images)

Darek Redos/AFP/Getty Images)

CBS St. Louis (con't)

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CHICAGO (AP)- Most Illinois utilities won’t miss a beat when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalizes a rule requiring coal-fired power plants to control mercury emissions for the first time.

It’s a decision environmental and health advocates say will reduce developmental problems in children, but some industry groups complain is too restrictive.

In fact, the state already is way ahead.

EPA data shows the volume of mercury and mercury compounds emitted by Illinois’ 23 power plants has fallen 44 percent, from 2008 through 2010. And several plants already meet or exceed the goal of reducing emissions 90 percent by 2015.

Illinois adopted its rule in 2007 at the direction of then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who complained a Bush administration rule didn’t reduce emissions far enough or fast enough.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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