In Attempt To Shut Down Coal Plant, Alex. Residents Test For Mercury | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

In Attempt To Shut Down Coal Plant, Alex. Residents Test For Mercury

Play associated audio
Ernie Lehmann gets his hair snipped so it can be tested for mercury levels. He's part of a group trying to shut down a coal plant in Alexandria.
Jessica Gould
Ernie Lehmann gets his hair snipped so it can be tested for mercury levels. He's part of a group trying to shut down a coal plant in Alexandria.

At BellaWest Hair Salon in Old Town Alexandria -- which bills itself as an eco-friendly salon -- a stylist snips off a lock of Ernie Lehmann's snow-white hair.

"I want to have it tested for mercury," he says.

Lehmann isn't trying to update his look. He's trying to protect his health -- and the health of his grandchildren.

"The ingestion of mercury has a terribly deleterious effect on their nervous systems," he says. "They're bright kids. I want them to stay bright."

For years, Alexandria residents have lobbied against the plant, formerly known as Mirant, in North Old Town. They argue it releases toxins, including mercury, into the air.

"I often notice it when I bike to work," says Seth Heald, a volunteer with the Sierra Club. "You can often taste it on your tongue as you're coming by breathing a little hard from biking."

In a statement, GenOn spokesperson Misty Allen says the power plant fully complies with federal and state environmental standards. The company has also invested approximately $84 million dollars in environmental controls, including a $34 million agreement with the City of Alexandria to make air quality improvements, says Allen.

The results of the mercury hair tests will take about a month to process.

NPR

Advice For Trevor Noah From The 'Jon Stewart Of South Africa'

The Daily Show isn't the only fake news show around. South Africa has Late Nite News, starring comedian Loyiso Gola. We asked him how he feels about Noah's new job — and what advice he has to offer.
NPR

The Revival Of Lamb Ham: A Colonial Tradition Renewed

British colonialists brought lamb ham to America, where a sugar-cured, smoked variety became popular. Easier-to-cure pork ham eventually took its place, but now two Virginians are bringing it back.
WAMU 88.5

Legal Cloud Lifts For Controversial Alexandria Waterfront Plan

Thanks to a recent ruling of the Virginia Supreme Court in Richmond, developers now have a green light to start demolishing a series of old abandoned warehouses and building structures in Alexandria that are much larger than what's there now.
NPR

If Drones Make You Nervous, Think Of Them As Flying Donkeys

In Africa, where there aren't always roads from Point A to Point B, drones could take critical medicines to remote spots. But the airborne vehicles make people uneasy for lots of reasons.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.