EPA Announces Rule to Reduce Mercury Emissions

In Washington, D.C., on March 15, acting administrator Steve Johnson signed the Clean Air Mercury Rule, which is aimed at significantly reducing mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants across the country.

In Washington, D.C., on March 15, acting administrator Steve Johnson signed the Clean Air Mercury Rule, which is aimed at significantly reducing mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants across the country. Together with the recently issued Clear Air Interstate Rule, this new rule, when fully implemented, should reduce electric utility mercury emissions by nearly 70 percent from 1999 levels.

"This rule marks the first time the United States has regulated mercury emissions from power plants," Johnson said. "In doing so, we become the first nation in the world to address this remaining source of mercury pollution."

The Clean Air Mercury Rule will require reductions at our largest remaining source of human-generated mercury emissions, electric utilities. Mercury is a persistent, toxic pollutant that accumulates in the food chain. While concentrations of it in the air are usually low, mercury emissions can reach lakes, rivers and estuaries and can eventually build up in fish tissue. Americans are exposed to mercury primarily by eating certain species of fish.

"We remain committed to working with Congress to help advance the president's Clear Skies legislation in order to achieve greater certainty and nationwide emissions reductions," said Johnson. "But we need regulations in place now."
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