NTAA: Air Topics

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Friday, 30 November 2012 16:12
EPA Sets Date for Public Hearing on Mercury Toxics Rule
U.S. EPA today scheduled a public hearing for next month on the reconsidered portion of its landmark mercury air standards.

In a Federal Register notice, EPA said it will hold a hearing Dec. 18 if someone requests it. Given how high-profile the agency's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, or MATS, have become, presumably the hearing will take place.

The agency plans to hold the meeting at its headquarters in Washington, D.C., from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

EPA in February finalized the MATS, one of the largest regulations from the agency in President Obama's first term. By setting new limits on mercury, particulate matter and other air pollutants, EPA estimates the rule would prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths, 4,700 heart attacks and 130,000 asthma attacks per year once fully implemented. EPA calculated the health benefits of the rule between $37 billion and $90 billion every year.

Industry has been critical of the new standard, and several states and business groups petitioned EPA to reconsider it. EPA agreed to take another look at the standards for new power plants and finalized the reconsidered rule earlier this month.

The new rule eases limits on several emissions from new coal- and oil-fired plants, including particulate matter, mercury and acid gases. EPA has emphasized, however, that health benefits and the cost of the rule won't change because the same technologies will still have to be installed to comply with the standards.

EPA is also facing a trio of lawsuits on the rules, including one focused on the new source regulations.

The agency plans to finalize the reconsidered rule in March.

Click HERE to read the Federal Register announcement.

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