Guide to polluters and protectors

While many utilities have been preparing for years to comply with EPA’s new standards, others have been fighting the rule in the courts and Congress. Here’s a guide to the polluters and protectors of EPA’s mercury and air toxics standards.

The polluters

These companies are working to unravel the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards in the courts.


  • In 2010, FirstEnergy was the 15th highest [PDF] mercury emitter in tons out of the 100 largest utility companies in the nation and was ranked 13th in SO2 emissions, 14th in NOx and 15th in CO2.
  • FirstEnergy donated $1.24 million to elected officials in 2012, with the highest two individual amounts going to Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Representative John Boehner (R-OH)—both are members of Congress that have opposed various clean air standards.
  • From 2010–2012, FirstEnergy spent $5.7 million [PDF] on lobbying related to air standards and EPA authority.
  • FirstEnergy received over $16 billion [PDF] in revenue in 2011.
  • Meanwhile in 2011, pollution from FirstEnergy [PDF] contributed to between 500 and 1300 premature deaths as well as countless other respiratory impacts. These harms carry social costs as high as $10 billion.

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association

  • In 2010, Tri-State emitted [PDF] approximately 8,000 tons of SO2, 18,000 tons of NOx, 15 million tons of CO2, and 200 pounds of mercury.
  • Out of the 100 largest utilities in the U.S. [PDF], Tri-State had the 3rd highest emission rate of CO2 and the 5th highest emission rate of NOx among fossil fuel plants.
  • Tri-State and partners are planning to build an 895-MW coal plant in Kansas. Kansas was ranked 16th [PDF] in the nation in 2010 for mercury air emissions.
  • Tri-State spent $600,000 on lobbying in 2011–2012.

Chase Power Development

  • Chase Power is planning to develop a massive, 1,320 MW petroleum coke-fired plant in Corpus Christi, TX known as the Las Brisas Energy Center.
  • Petroleum coke has one of the highest CO2 emission rates [PDF] of solid fuels (higher than even some of the dirtiest types of coal) and numerous types of toxic metals, including mercury.
  • Las Brisas will emit 15 million tons of CO2 [PDF] every year.
  • A Texas District Court Judge recently determined that the permit issued by TCEQ failed to demonstrate that the plant would meet federal emission standards. TCEQ is challenging the decision.

The Utility Air Regulatory Group

  • The Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) is an organization of undisclosed utility companies that for years has consistently challenged federal clean air standards.
  • UARG does not regularly update or provide a list of its members, but in 2006 filed comments with EPA that include this list [PDF] of members. Many of the nation’s largest power plant polluters were included in the list.

The protectors

Public support for mercury standards from power plants is broad and deep. From public health organizations such as the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association, and American Public Health Association, to mayors [PDF], scientists [PDF], and moms, Americans have voiced their support this rule. The League of United Latin American Citizens, NAACP, the Small Business Majority, and Consumers Union have all spoken in support of standards to limit exposure to mercury and other toxic pollution from power plants.

Many states have already established mercury controls for power plants, and have joined in defending the rule.

In addition, many utilities are standing up to defend the rule, including: Calpine, Exelon, and Public Service Enterprise Group, Inc.

These power companies are standing up to defend the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards in the courts.



    • Provides up to 29,000 MW of power across 20 states and Canada.


    Public Service Enterprise Group

    National Grid USA


    Constellation Energy Group

    Austin Energy

    • Publicly owned power provider in the city of Austin that was named the public utility of the year in 2012 by the Solar Electric Power Association.

    Numerous companies have long prepared for this rule and some have stepped up to defend the rule in the courts:

    Many companies, including ours, have already invested in modern air-pollution control technologies and cleaner and more efficient power plants.

    Letter to Editor Wall Street Journal, "We're OK with EPA's New Air-Quality Regulations," Dec. 8, 2010

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