Mercury and Air Toxics Standard

Today is the last day to urge the Trump administration to protect our health from mercury and air toxics. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler is proposing to undermine the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard.

This proposal would reverse the existing finding that it is “appropriate and necessary” to regulate emissions of mercury and other toxic air pollutants from coal-fired power plants.

Please submit your comment here.

Again, today (4-17-2019) is the last day for your submission. Feel free to utilize information provided in our letter below:

Andrew Wheeler, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency

National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Coal- and Oil-Fired Electric Utility Steam Generating Units – Additional Post-Promulgation Actions

Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OAR-2018-0794

Today, as a member of the Science Network of the Union of Concerned Scientists, I would like to express my serious misgivings pertaining to the proposed revised cost findings of the Mercury and Air Toxins Standards for power plants.

A vast body of scientific evidence shows that air toxics from coal plants—including mercury, hydrogen chloride, arsenic, chromium, cadmium, nickel, and others—can cause or contribute to neurological damage in developing fetuses (including IQ deficits in prenatally exposed children), chronic respiratory diseases, various cancers, cardiovascular effects in both children and adults, and other severe damage to human health and ecosystems.

The EPA is also undertaking this action despite the fact that since the now-threatened MATS went into effect, the power sector has significantly reduced air toxics emissions, providing major public health benefits at costs far lower than expected and without adverse effects on electric system reliability or the economy. In 2017, air toxics emissions from coal and oil-fired power plants were 96 percent lower than before the rule took effect, leading to an enormous reduction in public exposure to these harmful pollutants.

The proposal to eliminate the effects of particulate matter (PM) as a co-benefit, proposing that it is not “appropriate and necessary” to regulate Hazardous Air Pollutant emissions from coal, and oil-fired power plants under section 112 of the CAA because the costs of such regulation grossly outweigh the benefits, is a deeply flawed configuration of Cost Benefit Analysis. Objective, science-driven, non-partisan, cost-benefit analysis must be adhered to.

I strongly oppose any weakening of the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards (MATS). These vital safeguards are key to protecting our lives and our environments. Plans to gut these rules jeopardize multi-billion-dollar investments from industry to comply with common-sense standards. This proposed approach must be reversed. It would harm public health and the environment, as well as severely limit the agency’s long-term ability to issue other public health protections.

The EPA’s mission is to protect our health and environment. The proposal to gut mercury pollution standards is a stark divergence from that mission.

Thank you for taking the time for my submission.

August E. Allen
Executive Director
In the Shadow of the Wolf

Related content:

Coal and Air Pollution

Why coal-fired power stations need to shut on health grounds.