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New EPA Standards Aimed at Coal-Fired Power Plants

3/16/2011 10:16:29 PM

Tags: Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, National Resources Defense Council, mercury and air toxics standards, coal-fired power plants, Robyn Griggs Lawrence

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took action against coal-fired power plants that could save tens of thousands of lives and prevent hundreds of thousands of cases of respiratory illness, Pete Altman and John Walke report on the National Resources Defense Council Switchboard. Walke, NRDC’s clean air director, calls today’s proposed mercury and air toxics standards for coal- and oil-burning power plants “the most important actions to clean up air pollution from dirty coal-burning power plants since the Clean Air Act was last updated in 1990.”

The proposed standards are projected to save  as many as 17,000 American lives  every year by 2015 and prevent up to 120,000 cases of asthma and 11,000 cases of acute bronchitis among children every year, Walke reports.

The proposed standards should reduce mercury emissions from power plants burning coal and oil by 91 percent, acid gas pollution by 91 percent, direct particulate matter (PM) emissions by 30 percent and sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions by 53 percent.

The EPA is responding to a 2008 U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that it must follow the Clean Air Act's protective safeguards, which require deep and timely reductions in toxic air pollution, including mercury, from the nation’s coal-fired power plants.

coal smokestack 

Proposed EPA regulations would reduce mercury emissions from power plants burning coal and oil by 91 percent.

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3/17/2011 7:26:21 PM
How about we let people start building Thorium reactors which are 400 times cleaner than coal? I realize most people here want us to remain *behind* the rest of the world where hundreds of reactors are being built in Europe, China, India ...

3/17/2011 4:53:04 AM
My main question is can coal-fired plants achieve this standard practically? I have no problem with spending some more money on cutting what we reasonably believe to be pollutants, such as mercury. However, I do not want to see our economy killed by being ridiculous. I don't want to see all coal-fired plants killed just because we are on a "witch hunt" to kill them. I do have asthma, and really appreciate good breathing - but I also want to be very practical. Lets do what we reasonably can to improve air quality.

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