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EPA Proposes New Mercury Air Pollution Rules

Standards Proposed by Environmental Protection Agency Will Cut Mercury Released by Power Plants

Public Comment Period

The standards must now go through a public comment period before being made final in November. Once the rule goes into effect, power plants will have four years to comply.

The EPA estimates it will cost the energy industry about $11 billion a year to meet the regulations, though Jackson noted that many companies had already voluntarily upgraded their plants.

An estimated 44% of power plants lack advanced pollution control equipment.

Some power companies said the costs could become an unwieldy burden, ultimately causing some plants to close.

“Companies facing multiple emission-control requirements under very tight deadlines would face the biggest challenges related to costs and possibly jobs,” says Dan Riedinger, a spokesman for Edison Electric Institute, an industry lobbying group.

Riedinger says he hopes that the EPA will be flexible in working with energy producers.

“Regulations should allow for compliance in the most cost-effective manner to avoid undue impacts on customers, the economy, and jobs,” he says.

Many health problems have been linked to air pollution, including cancer, heart attacks, strokes, aggravated asthma attacks, bronchitis, and lung disease in addition to the neurological damage caused by mercury and lead poisoning.

“There are no other sources of air pollution in America, beyond power plants, that cause so many premature deaths, and today’s standards are the biggest response in a generation to avoiding that death toll.”

Top Mercury-Emitting Power Plants

The top 25 mercury-emitting power plants are:

  • Martin Lake, Texas
  • Big Brown, Texas
  • Labadie, Mo.
  • James H. Miller Jr., Ala.
  • Limestone, Texas
  • Monticello, Texas
  • Scherer, Ga.
  • Coal Creek, N.D.
  • Rockport, Ind.
  • James M. Gavin, Ohio
  • Monroe, Mich.
  • W.A. Parish, Texas
  • Sandow No 4, Texas
  • Big Cajun 2, La.
  • Keystone, Pa.
  • Pirkey, Texas
  • Columbia, Wis.
  • Sherburne County, Minn.
  • Milton R. Young, N.D.
  • Independence, Ark.
  • Nebraska City, Neb.
  • Conemaugh, Pa.
  • Colstrip, Mont.
  • Laramie River Stn., Wyo.
  • White Bluff, Ark.

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