The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took home a sweeping victory when an appeals court upheld the agency’s pollution limits for mercury and air toxics from power plants. The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld EPA’s rule, known as MATS, denying challenges from states, utilities and industry groups that argued against the rule.
The rule gives strict pollution control requirements that will push many of the nation’s oldest and dirtiest coal-fired power plants into retirement when it takes effect in 2015. EPA spokeswoman, Liz Purchia, lauded the ruling, which will keep in place a rule the agency has said will eliminate 90% of the coal-fired power plants’ mercury pollution, 88% of their acid gas emissions and 41% of sulfur dioxide emissions.
The standards “will save thousands of lives each year, prevent heart and asthma attacks, while slashing emissions of the neurotoxin mercury, which can impair children’s ability to learn,” Purchia said. The ruling “upholds significant health protections for women, children, those who live near existing coal-fired power plants, and the environment due to air toxic emissions like mercury, arsenic, chromium and other metals and acid gases,” said Ann Weeks of Clean Air Task Force, which has represented 10 regional and local environmental organizations in the case since 2005.
Look for cleaner air to breath and higher quality of health because of this ruling.