Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for power plants
EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, finalized in 2011, placed the first-ever national limits on the amount of mercury, acid gases, and other toxic pollution that power plants can emit. Coal-fired power plants are the single largest source of these toxic air pollutants.
The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards will save thousands of lives and protect our families and communities from toxic pollution’s harmful effects on our air, food and water.
Support for the rule
Support for these standards is widespread and diverse. EPA received more than 800,000 public comments in support of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.
Numerous utilities, states, mayors, public health groups, environmental groups, faith groups, small business groups, the NAACP, moms, scientists, sportsmen and the League of United Latin American Citizens all support these lifesaving protections.
Although most power plants in the U.S. are already on track to comply with these crucial standards, polluters continue to fight against them in court.
In June 2015, a sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that EPA should have considered costs when it first decided to regulate emissions of mercury and other air toxics, instead of the multiple times it considered them later during the rulemaking.
In response, EPA performed a supplemental analysis in which it considered the costs of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. In April 2016, it issued its final finding — fulfilling the directives of the Supreme Court and reaffirming the enormous and cost-effective benefits of reducing mercury and other toxic pollutants.