EPA's indicates MACT, 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 said it 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. EPA reiterated that the 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 said its 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." EPA 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.
On December 21, 2011, EPA issued the final MATS [See WIMS 1/3/12]. The Agency estimates that the new safeguards 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 said it estimates that for every dollar spent to reduce pollution from power plants, the American public will see up to $9 in health benefits. The total health and economic benefits of this standard are estimated to be as much as $90 billion annually. The highly controversial rules have been under Republican legislative assault and legal challenges from some industry groups and states [See WIMS 2/21/12].
In a July 20, letter to petitioners, Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy indicated, the agency intended to "grant reconsideration of certain new source issues, including measurement issues related to mercury and the data set to which the variability calculation was applied when establishing the new source standards for particulate matter and hydrochloric acid, that may affect the new source standards." EPA said it plans to issue a Federal Register notice "shortly, initiating notice and comment rulemaking on the new source issues. . ." EPA also said a Federal Register notice will also stay "the effectiveness of the new source emission standards for three months."
32 Years of Environmental Reporting for serious Environmental Professionals