Thursday, March 17, 2011

New Power Plant Mercury and Air Toxics Standards

In response to a court deadline, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed national standards for mercury, arsenic and other air toxics from power plants. The new Power Plant Mercury and Air Toxics Standards will require many power plants to install widely available, proven pollution control technologies to cut emissions of mercury, arsenic, chromium, nickel and acid gases.

Power plants are the largest remaining source of several toxic air pollutants and are responsible for half of mercury and over half of acid gas emissions in the US. Within the power sector, coal-fired power plants are responsible for 99 % of mercury emissions. According to EPA, currently more than half of all coal-fired power plants already use control technologies that allow them to meet these important standards.

The public comment period will extend 60 days from posting to the Federal Register. EPA also expects to hold public hearings on this proposed rule.

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