Gulf Power Plans Mercury Research Center in Pensacola

Gulf Power Company will establish a $5 million mercury research center at its power plant in Pensacola by November.

The company says it'll be the first utility in the nation with a facility trying to reduce mercury emissions. It will also make its research available to other utilities throughout the world.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency is developing a rule to regulate mercury emissions from coal-burning power plants. It must be issued by March 15 under a court-approved agreement.

The EPA envisions a 70 percent cut in mercury emissions from coal burning plants by 2018. That's a reduction to 15 tons annually, down from 28 tons.

Gulf Power initially plans to test combinations of five treatment methods on emissions from the Pensacola plant.