EPA Restores Foundational Protections to Limit Harms from Mercury, Other Hazardous Air Pollutants

Published Feb 17, 2023

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Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a finalized supplemental rule that reaffirms its legal authority to regulate mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from coal- and oil-burning power plants. The EPA’s rule once again finds that limiting mercury pollution is “appropriate and necessary.” It also revokes the Trump administration’s prior reconsideration and expunges their narrow calculation of the costs and benefits of mercury regulations, which had been used to undercut the legal justification for safeguards against mercury and other pollutants.

Below is a statement by Julie McNamara, the deputy policy director of the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“With today’s restoration of the finding that it’s ‘appropriate and necessary’ to curb mercury pollution and other air toxics emitted by power plants, EPA Administrator Regan has firmly and forcefully shut the door on one of the Trump administration’s most appalling manipulations of science and the rulemaking process. This action is transparently grounded in the significant and incontrovertible evidence of the devastating harms wrought by exposure to mercury and other hazardous air pollutants in communities across the country—as well as the clear demonstration of readily available and affordable pollution controls.

“With this foundational safeguard back in place, EPA must now move swiftly to revise and strengthen the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards themselves, for as the science makes clear, far too many people are still being harmed by these pollutants, and those burdens have been and continue to be unequally borne.”