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EPA strengthens standards for hazardous air pollutant emissions from power plants  

April 25, 2024 Work Area: Power Plants

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a final rule updating and strengthening the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) for coal-fired power plants to account for developments in pollution control practices and technologies. The rule addresses hazardous air pollutant (air toxics) emissions from coal-fired power plants by strengthening the mercury standard for lignite-fired plants, strengthening the filterable particulate matter surrogate standard, requiring the use of continuous emissions monitoring systems for compliance with the filterable particulate matter standard, and removing the extended startup period exemption from MATS. 

“Finalizing this rule is a critical step to reducing hazardous air pollutant emissions from the power sector,” said Hayden Hashimoto, Attorney at Clean Air Task Force. “The Clean Air Act requires stringent regulation of these pollutants, which include mercury—a potent neurotoxin—and nine other hazardous air pollutants that have been classified as human carcinogens or probable human carcinogens. And developments in pollution controls over the last decade have shown that plants can do much more to reduce emissions of these air toxics. Strengthening the filterable particulate matter surrogate standard for non-mercury metal hazardous air pollutants and the mercury standard for lignite-fired plants, requiring the use of particulate matter continuous emissions monitoring systems, and removing the work practice standards for the extended startup period will lead to cleaner air and a healthier environment. This is particularly true for communities disproportionately impacted by air toxics pollution. We look forward to supporting and defending the feasible and cost-effective limits and requirements in this rule.” 

EPA is required to update limits on air toxics emissions if new technologies or practices are available or if there have been significant changes in the costs or effectiveness of control technologies. Over the past decade, the MATS rule has successfully reduced air pollution from the power sector, but section 112 of the Clean Air Act requires periodic reviews to ensure that these particularly harmful emissions are limited to the extent feasible taking into account technological improvements and developments. Developments in control technologies, including activated carbons and fabric filter materials, enable these power plants to reduce their emissions and achieve better performance than MATS originally required. Furthermore, requiring the use of continuous emissions monitoring systems will be far more effective than periodic stack testing at actually ensuring compliance with the filterable particulate matter limit, as periodic stack testing cannot ensure plants comply with the limit between tests. Tightening these limits and better ensuring compliance are key to reducing hazardous air pollutant emissions. 

Presse Kontakt

Samantha Sadowski, Kommunikationsmanagerin, USA, ssadowski@catf.us, +1 202-440-1717

Über Clean Air Task Force 

Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is a global nonprofit organization working to safeguard against the worst impacts of climate change by catalyzing the rapid development and deployment of low-carbon energy and other climate-protecting technologies. With more than 25 years of internationally recognized expertise on climate policy and a fierce commitment to exploring all potential solutions, CATF is a pragmatic, non-ideological advocacy group with the bold ideas needed to address climate change. CATF has offices in Boston, Washington D.C., and Brussels, with staff working virtually around the world. Visit catf.us and follow @cleanaircatf. 

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