Environment Counts | Mercury, acid gas and other air toxics emissions standards for power plants mandated in the US
Author: Geoff Zeiss – Published At: 2011-12-22 08:17 – (787 Reads)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), the first national standards for mercury, arsenic, acid gas, nickel, selenium, and cyanide emissions from power plants under the Clean Air Act Amendments, signed by President Bush in 1990. The EPA says that MATS and the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), issued earlier this year, are the most significant steps to clean up pollution from power plant smokestacks since the Acid Rain Program of the 1990s.
The EPA estimates MATS will have significant public health benefits in the range of $53 billion to $140 billion at an estimated cost of $11 billion. Mercury has been shown to harm the nervous systems of children exposed in the womb. The other pollutants that will be reduced by these standards can cause cancer, premature death, heart disease, and asthma. It is estimated that MATS could prevent as many as 11,000 premature deaths, avoid 4,700 heart attacks, prevent 130,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms and reduce acute bronchitis among children by 6,300 cases each year.
EPA estimates that manufacturing, engineering, installing and maintaining the pollution controls to meet these standards will provide employment for thousands, potentially including 46,000 short-term construction jobs and 8,000 long-term utility jobs.
According to the World Resources Institute (WRI) the MATS standards have been in development for over 20 years, many plants are already meeting the standards, and 11 of the 15 largest coal utilities have already informed their shareholders that they are well positioned to comply with them.