The Department of Ecology says the agreement will lead to real improvements in visibility, but Bergerson disagrees. He says nitrogen oxides are the source for the haze that is damaging 12 wilderness areas in Washington State – more wilderness areas affected by coal pollution than in any other state.

Cherie Eicholz, executive director of Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, is concerned about how the proposed standards will affect children. She says the mercury standards fall very short of what is needed.

"Kids’ systems are much, much more vulnerable than adult systems are. When we are talking about mercury, we are talking about nervous systems and immune systems – we’re talking about problems that could last a lifetime."

The Department of Ecology has scheduled one public hearing, to be held Oct. 13 at Department of Ecology headquarters. Advocates say more hearings should be held, so people all across the state can have their say.

The public hearing is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 13 at Department of Ecology headquarters, 300 Desmond Drive SE, Lacey, Wash. The state also is accepting written comments until early November.