WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing technical information that is focused on pollution limits for new power plants under the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, based on new information provided by industry stakeholders after the rule was finalized. This review, which is not an uncommon step for major standards, will have no impact on the sensible, achievable, and cost-effective standards already set for existing power plants, which will protect millions of families and, especially, children from air pollution. By moving quickly to review the new information, this action will provide greater certainty for five planned future facilities, in Georgia, Kansas, Texas, and Utah, that would be covered by the standards. This review will not change the expected costs or public health benefits of the rule.
EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, which take advantage of existing flexibilities, are the first national standards to protect American families from power plant emissions of mercury and toxic air pollution like arsenic, acid gas, nickel, selenium, and cyanide. By ensuring that existing power plants install widely available pollution control equipment, the standards will prevent as many as 11,000 premature deaths and 4,700 heart attacks a year. The standards will also help America’s children grow up healthier— preventing 130,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms and about 6,300 fewer cases of acute bronchitis among children each year.
EPA will review monitoring issues related to the mercury standards for new power plants and will address other technical issues on the acid gas and particle pollution standards for these plants. The agency’s review will not change the types of state-of-the-art pollution controls new power plants are expected to use to reduce this harmful pollution.
This type of review, known as a “reconsideration,” is a routine tool that EPA often uses to ensure that its standards incorporate all relevant information, in cases where information only becomes available after a rule is promulgated. The agency’s decision to reconsider the standards for new sources reflects its ongoing commitment to work with industry and other stakeholders to ensure that all of EPA’s standards protect public health while being achievable and cost-effective. The agency will follow an expedited, open and transparent process that includes public comment on any proposed changes. The agency will complete the rulemaking by March 2013 and will also use its Clean Air Act authority to stay the final standards for new power plants for three months during this review.
More information: http://epa.gov/mats/actions.html