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Public health groups and environmental activists are backing the governor's plan, noting that there have been several successful tests of mercury controls at coal plants. Most involve relatively inexpensive equipment that filters mercury particles.
"We're disappointed these companies are choosing to fight instead of cleaning up," said Jack Darin, director of the Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club. "We would be a lot healthier if these companies spent their money on pollution controls instead of spending it on lawyers and lobbyists."
Her new client, Ameren, would be among the companies hit hardest by Blagojevich's mercury rules. The utility's coal plants released 1,023 pounds of mercury into the air during 2003, the latest year for which figures are available from the U.S. EPA's Toxics Release Inventory.