CTU applauds new EPA rules for mercury and air toxics

Colorado currently has 22 waterbodies under Fish Consumption Advisories due to high mercury levels - where the fish themselves are literally too toxic to be safely consumed.  These include important fishing waters from Navajo Reservoir to Lake Granby to Horsetooth Reservoir and Carter Lake.  For an organization that has long championed catch-and-release fishing, supporting regulations to make fish consumption safer may seem a bit unusual.  But not only can reductions in mercury and other air toxics help protect the health of anglers and their families that eat some of the fish they catch, it is also good news for the fish themselves.  When a fish is too toxic to be eaten safely, it is a pretty strong indicator that the health of the fish and its habitat are also impacted.  Indeed, research has shown that elevated mercury levels impact trout's olfactory response - which in turn can harm their ability to feed, navigate, and reproduce. Fortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency has issued new rules that will restrict emissions of air toxics including mercury from power plants.  Not only will these changes help reduce air toxics, but they will also contribute to reductions in sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides - key pollutants that contribute to acid rain, another threat to fish habitat.  That is why Colorado TU Executive Director David Nickum joined physicians, state and federal officials, and business interests at a press conference at Children's Hospital on January 10, to voice support for EPA's new rules.  "We thank EPA for its efforts to protect the health of fish, the health of habitat, and the health of anglers," Nickum said.