Defending EPA’s landmark mercury rule

Once fully in place, it will save thousands of lives

UPDATE: In April 2014, the D.C Circuit Appeals court ruled in favor of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), dismissing challenges from industry and other groups that would have struck down these vital health protections.

Few federal standards have the power to save lives like MATS, which was completed by the Obama administration in December 2011.

The new rule will remove substantial amounts of toxic mercury from coal-burning power plants out of our air, water and food — along with limiting arsenic, chromium, nickel and toxic acids.

How vital are these protections?

When implemented, MATS will:

  1. Improve children's health

    More than 400,000 infants are born annually with elevated mercury levels in their blood, which can damage developing brains. The new MATS standards will eliminate 90% of mercury emitted from coal-fired power plants.

  2. Lead to fewer premature deaths

    The emission reductions in this rule will result in up to 11,000 fewer premature deaths each year.

  3. Cut rates of chronic disease

    The new rule will prevent thousands of heart attacks, bronchitis cases and asthma attacks.

  4. Save money

    A projected 540,000 fewer missed work or "sick days" and less frequent trips to emergency rooms will save as much as $90 billion a year.

Our work isn't done

This legal victory is the result of a decades-long effort by EDF and our allies to ensure power plants clean up the mercury and other dangerous substances that can be spewed into the atmosphere when coal and oil are burned for power.

However, our work isn't done: Clean air protections are under constant threat by opponents. We need your continued support to fight back and save our clean air.

EDF has been fighting for these crucial health protections for years.

Vickie Patton Vickie Patton EDF General Counsel