The Trump Administration has determined that it is unnecessary and too costly to regulate hazardous air pollutants (HAP) emanating from USA coal and oil-fired power plants as outlined in current mercury standards, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in a press release on Friday. He's a former EPA air administrator now with Bracewell LLP, which represents energy industry clients. "With this proposal, EPA has chose to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and all Americans will suffer as a result", said Carper.
The mercury regulation also costs the coal industry $9.6 billion annually, making it among the most expensive regulations the EPA has ever had to enforce.
Mercury is a neurotoxin that can damage children's brains and impair intellectual and motor skills.
The EPA on Friday proposed a new rule that challenges the basis for the Obama regulation.
Once the proposal appears in the federal register sometime in the coming weeks, the New York Times reports, the public will have 60 days to comment before any final changes are made. That came not from curbing mercury itself but from the reduction in particulate matter linked to heart and lung disease that also occurs when cutting mercury emissions. It said the standards have markedly reduced mercury in the environment and improved public health.
The Obama administration also broadly accepted that it's hard to put a specific dollar-figure on some health benefits - for instance, avoiding lost IQ points in infants (or other fetal harm), which has been linked to pregnant women eating mercury-contaminated fish.
Representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the USA have proposed going back on a previous endorsement of limits on mercury pollution.
The 2011 Obama administration rule, called the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, led to what electric utilities say was an $18 billion clean-up of mercury and other toxins from the smokestacks of coal-fired power plants.
Environmental groups say federal and state limits have helped cut mercury emissions from power plants by 85 percent since 2006. For that reason, the original rule argued against using a strict cost-benefit analysis to decide whether the regulation should be imposed, said Joseph Goffman, executive director of Harvard Law School's Environmental and Energy Law Program. It would consider only the benefits that can be directly translated into dollars and cents.
Hal Quinn, head of the National Mining Association, charged in a statement Friday that the Obama administration had carried out "perhaps the largest regulatory accounting fraud perpetrated on American consumers" when it calculated that the broad health benefits to Americans would outweigh the cost of equipment upgrades by power providers. This is public health benefits.