Trump administration tears up Obama's rules slashing mercury emissions

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But it further justified the regulation by citing an additional $80 billion in health benefits a year by, among other things, preventing the 11,000 premature deaths.

The proposal, which revisits a 2011 rule limiting mercury emissions from coal plants, argues that the EPA lacked justification to curb the neurotoxin in the first place because many benefits stemmed from the overall drop in air pollution that would occur once power companies adopted new technologies. It said the standards have markedly reduced mercury in the environment and improved public health. "With this proposal, EPA has made a decision to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and all Americans will suffer as a result", said Carper.

The agency said that the Trump administration was "providing regulatory certainty" by more accurately estimating the costs...

Mercury exposure is linked to developmental disorders and respiratory illnesses.

Environmental groups say federal and state limits have helped cut mercury emissions from power plants by 85 percent since 2006. "The misguided proposed changes leave MATS legally vulnerable and foolishly make it harder to strengthen mercury pollution reduction standards in the future to better protect children's and women's health, and Great Lakes fisheries".

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"Although an analysis of all benefits and costs in accordance with generally recognized benefit-cost analysis practices is appropriate for informing the public about the potential effects of any regulatory action. this does not mean that equal consideration of all benefits and costs, including co-benefits, is appropriate for the specific statutory appropriate and necessary finding called for under CAA section 112 (n)(1)(A)."

USA coal-fired power generation has fallen more than 40 percent since a peak in 2007, while natural gas-fired generation soared by about the same amount, according to the Energy Information Administration.

In July, electric utilities and utility groups favoring the rule asked the administration to keep it in place. That's because it also costs money to continue operating that equipment. Even as coal use rises in China and India, the domestic industry has struggled to compete with cheaper electricity produced from natural gas and renewable energy.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday that it was proposing new rules regarding the regulation of hazardous air pollutants, potentially making way for fewer restrictions on various pollutants in the future. Coal power plants in this country are the largest single manmade source of mercury pollutants, which enters the food chain through fish and other items that people consume.

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