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Mercury pollution increases in Illinois
Associated Press
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Published: 12/28/2009 8:02 AM

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Mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants is increasing in Illinois -- despite a decline in such pollution nationwide.

That's according to a Chicago Tribune analysis of newly released federal data on industrial pollution. The analysis found that the amount of mercury blown into the air by Illinois' coal plants increased by 7 percent last year. Mercury emissions from all U.S. power plants declined by 4 percent.

The Tribune reports that Michigan was the only state with a larger increase, while Texas tied Illinois for second.

In the Chicago area, mercury emissions rose at three coal-fired power plants while it dropped at two others. Midwest Generation owns all five plants. Company spokesman Doug McFarlan says pollution should drop overall this year because of the mercury-scrubbing equipment Midwest Generation has installed.