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The 491 U.S. coal-fired power plants are the largest unregulated industrial source of mercury emissions nationwide, annually emitting about 48 tons of mercury--a toxic element that poses health threats, including neurological disorders in children.
Household energy use accounts for nearly one-fourth of all energy consumed in the United States, amounting to more than $200 billion per year spent by consumers. Recent increases in energy prices have heightened consumers' interest in making their households more energy efficient.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reports on federal funding for climate research and to develop technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, among other things. The Climate Change Science Program (CCSP), which coordinates many agencies' activities, also reports on science funding.
For about 40 years, the Department of Energy's Rocky Flats site, near Denver, served as a production facility that made plutonium triggers, or "pits," for nuclear weapons. That role resulted in radiological and chemical contamination of many of the site's buildings and its soil and water.
Power plants emit pollutants that have been linked to various negative health effects. In 2003, two new power plants, owned by Sempra Energy and Intergen, began operations 3 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border near Imperial County, California.
In March 2005, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a rule that will limit emissions of mercury--a toxic element that causes neurological problems--from coal-fired power plants, the nation's largest industrial source of mercury emissions.
Since 1995, the average price of natural gas in the United States has almost tripled as demand has grown faster than supply. Despite this increase, natural gas is regularly lost as it is burned (flared) and released into the atmosphere (vented) during the production of oil and gas.
On January 29, 2001, the President established the National Energy Policy Development Group (NEPDG)--a group of cabinet-level and other senior administration officials, chaired by the Vice President--to gather information, deliberate, and recommend a national energy policy.