By Anne Hedges
The Trump Administration took office and immediately set about undoing public health protections from coal-fired power plants. Despite the fact that coal plants had been complying with limits on mercury emission or nearly a decade, the Trump Administration overturned a previous Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finding that it was “appropriate and necessary” to limit such emissions. This eliminated the foundation of the rule which had allowed EPA to regulate mercury and toxic air pollution from the largest industrial source of mercury pollution in the nation: coal-fired power plants.
In February, Pres. Joe Biden’s EPA again affirmed that it is necessary and appropriate to regulate mercury from power plants. While this step is important, it is only one step towards what needs to be done. The existing mercury regulations need to be strengthened in order to protect people and ecosystems from the toxic impact of mercury. EPA is expected to release a new proposed rule any day, and we are hopeful that this administration will close some of the loopholes in the law and strengthen the standard. When the proposed rule drops, we will be asking you to submit comments to help advocate for clean air.
This article was published in the March 2023 issue of Down To Earth.