EPA proposes making it harder to limit mercury emissions

EPA proposes making it harder to limit mercury emissions

The Trump administration on Friday targeted an Obama-era regulation credited with helping dramatically reduce toxic mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants, saying the benefits to human health and the environment may not be worth the cost of the regulation.

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. "The Trump EPA has decided - despite the recommendations of scientists, public health experts and elected officials on both sides of the aisle - that it is no longer "appropriate and necessary" to protect the development of infants' brains from the serious threats posed by mercury power plant pollution", said Carper. Mercury harms children and causes severe health damage.

According to the Times reporting, the new proposed rule would change the way the EPA determines the benefits of limiting different types of emissions, potentially making it more hard in the future for the agency to create new regulations.

Once the proposal appears in the federal register sometime in the coming weeks, the New York Times reports, the public will have 60 days to comment before any final changes are made. Coal-fired power plants are the largest single source of mercury pollution.

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Representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States have proposed going back on a previous endorsement of limits on mercury pollution.

The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule has been in place for years, and energy companies that own coal-fired power plants are already in compliance.

It's the latest administration effort on behalf of the country's coal industry. The new rule will not factor in the harder-to-quantify benefits linked to preventing those health consequences. For that reason, the original rule argued against using a strict cost-benefit analysis to decide whether the regulation should be imposed, said Joseph Goffman, executive director of Harvard Law School's Environmental and Energy Law Program.

"The administrator has concluded that the identification of these benefits is not sufficient, in light of the gross imbalance of monetized costs", the EPA announcement read. This is public health benefits.