EPA Issues First National Standards for Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for Pollution from Power Plants
Historic ‘mercury and air toxics standards’ meet 20-year old requirement to cut dangerous smokestack emissions
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. These are the first national standards. All to protect American families. Especially from power plant emissions.
Especially of mercury and toxic standards on air pollution. For example, arsenic, acid gas, and nickel. That’s as well as selenium, and cyanide. The standards will also slash emissions of these dangerous pollutants. All by relying on available pollution controls. Those that are already in use. Moreover at more than half of the nation’s coal-fired power plants.
In addition, EPA estimates that the new safeguards will prevent as many as 11,000 premature deaths. In addition reduce 4,700 heart attacks a year. The standards also helps America’s children. Because then they will grow up healthier. Thereby preventing 130,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms. As well as about 6,300 fewer cases of acute bronchitis.
That’s consequently among children each year.
More than 20 years ago, a bipartisan Congress came together. They passed the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. They mandated that EPA require control of toxic air pollutants. Especially and also including mercury.
So to meet this requirement, EPA worked extensively with stakeholders. That’s also including industry. All to minimize cost. Also and maximize flexibilities. Especially in these final standards.
There were more than 900,000 public comments. All that helped inform the final standards. Those that are being announced today.
Part of this feedback encouraged the EPA. All to ensure standards focused on two things. First of all, readily available and widely deployed pollution control technologies. Second that those controls are only made in the USA. Yet also support short-term. As well as long-term jobs.
Therefore the EPA estimates jobs in manufacturing and engineering. As well as installing and maintaining the pollution controls. Thereby to meet these standards will provide employment. Employment I mean for thousands. I mean potentially 46,000 short-term construction jobs. Then finally 8,000 long-term utility jobs.
In conclusion, power plants are the largest remaining source of several toxic air pollutants. That’s including mercury, arsenic and cyanide. That’s as well as a range of other dangerous pollutants.
Consequently they are responsible for half of the mercury. Also over 75 percent of the acid gas emissions. All throughout the United States.
Today, more than half of all coal-fired power plants already deploy pollution control technologies. All that help meet these standards.
So once final, these standards level the playing field. All by ensuring the remaining plants get clean! I mean we’re talking 40 percent. That’s of all coal fired power plants. All taking similar steps. Finally to decrease dangerous pollutants.
All as part of the commitment to maximize flexibilities under the law. Because the standards are accompanied by a Presidential Memorandum. One that directs EPA to use tools. Those provided in the Clean Air Act. All to implement the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. Especially in a cost-effective manner. One that ensures electric reliability.
For example and under these standards, talk about flex! Because EPA is providing the standard three years ahead of compliance. However it’s also encouraging permitting authorities. Moreover to make a fourth year too! One that’ll broadly get in available time. Time for technology installations.
I mean also still more time is needed. All in providing a well-defined pathway. That’s to address any localized reliability problems should they arise.
In addition, Mercury has been shown to harm the nervous systems of children. All exposed in the womb which is impairing thinking, learning and early development. Especially other pollutants that will be reduced by these standards. They can cause cancer, premature death, heart disease, and asthma.
So the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards are all being issued in response to a court deadline. All are in keeping with President Obama’s Executive Order. An Order on regulatory reform. They are based on the latest data. In addition, provide industry significant flexibility in implementation.
All through a phased-in approach. Plus using already existing technologies.
The standards also ensure that public health and economic benefits far outweigh costs of implementation. EPA estimates every dollar spent to reduce pollution from power plants. So the American public will see up to $90 billion in health benefits. The total health and economic benefits of this standard. They are estimated to be as much as $90 billion annually.
In addition to the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards is another one. It’s called the final Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. It was also issued earlier this year. These are the most significant steps to clean up pollution. Consequently from power plant smokestacks. That’s since the Acid Rain Program of the 1990s.
Combined, the two rules are estimated to prevent up to:
1. 46,000 premature deaths
2. 540,000 asthma attacks among children
3 24,500 emergency room visits and hospital admissions.
In conclusion, the two programs are an investment in public health. All that will provide a total of up to $380 billion in return to American families. That’s in the form of longer, healthier lives. Finally and reduced health care costs.
Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency · 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW · Washington DC 20460 · 202-564-4355 More information: http://www.epa.gov/mats/ R365