In comments filed late Wednesday, a coalition of Environmental, Public Health, and Civil Rights organizations have strongly opposed EPA’s proposal, 84 Fed. Reg. 2670 (Feb. 7, 2019), that it is not “appropriate” to regulate emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from coal- and oil-fired electric generating units. The coalition states that EPA’s proposal rests on fundamental legal errors and hopelessly flawed reasoning. The MATS rule has already been implemented and has reduced hazardous air pollutant emissions from coal- and oil-fired EGUs by 96 percent.
In proposing to find that regulating these large-scale emissions of hazardous air pollutants is not “appropriate,” EPA relies on a gerrymandered cost-benefit analysis using outdated projections of industry compliance costs, and a preposterously incomplete assessment of the health and environmental benefits of the existing regulation. Moreover, the proposal contradicts EPA’s own previous findings affirming the serious and widespread public health hazards posed by hazardous air pollutants. In failing to account for the health effects of uncontrolled air toxics, the proposal fails to address the concern at the heart of Section 112 and could put the existing MATS rule in jeopardy.
Ann Weeks, Legal Director for CATF, said: “As EPA in 2016 reaffirmed, controlling power plant air toxics, including mercury, carcinogens, and acid gases, is highly cost effective and health protective — benefitting all Americans but particularly the most vulnerable members of our society. Evidence since that time only bolsters the earlier finding, and EPAs current efforts to undo it are neither legally nor technically supported.”
Stuart C. Ross