Wednesday, December 21, 2011

EPA Releases New Mercury and Air Toxics Standards

It’s about a month late from its original release date deadline, but today the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled its new rules for emission of mercury and other toxins, rules that were demanded by the 1990 Clean Air Act, but rules that have been delayed from being issued by Congress for over 20 years.

The Republican-led congress even tried to do this again by passing the TRAIN Act last September. Passing along party lines by a vote of 233-180, the act hadn’t a chance of passing in the Senate, nor would it be signed into law by President Obama.

But now for the first time we have rules governing emissions of mercury and arsenic in the air, especially from coal-fired power plants.

Like the one that sits on Smithers Lake in Fort Bend County.

It, like all of the other coal-fired power plants in the nation, which all combined emit up to 48 tons of mercury every year, will soon come under these federal rules which will be enforced in 2016. That amounts to 855 gallons of elemental mercury dumped into our air every year.

And you can bet that there will be a hue and cry about these “job killing” regulations from mercury-breathing Republicans. But suffice it to say, these rules have been much-anticipated by these power plant companies.

But according to this article, there is existing technology that can reduce emissions by 90%, and the local plant in Fort Bend County is already making plans to modify its coal-fired units.

And the best part? The best part is that we can now point to yet another accomplishment of the Obama Administration. An accomplishment that previous administrations (including Bill Clinton’s) were unable to get done.

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