The Obama administration adopted a new EPA air quality rule, the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, on December 21, which will require deep cuts in mercury emissions, acid gases and soot from coal-fired power plants. States will allow up to 4 years for power plants to comply with the new standards, which is the first update to the 1990 Clean Air Act that required reductions of mercury and other pollutants.
The EPA projected the cost to implement to new rule will be about $9.6 billion annually but will provide substantially more in health benefits each year.
“The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards will protect millions of families and children from harmful and costly air pollution and provide the American people with health benefits that far outweigh the costs of compliance,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.
The EPA estimates that the total health and economic benefits of this standard are as much as $90 billion annually.
According to power firm association The Edison Electric Institute, the new rule was “the most expensive rule in the agency’s history.”
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