Trump EPA says limits on mercury emissions from coal plants not necessary

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration on Friday said limits on mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants were no longer necessary as their costs outweighed the benefits, a move environmentalists said was favorable for the coal industry and could increase health hazards. Under the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards, or MATS, enacted under former President Barack Obama, coal plants have been forced to install expensive equipment to cut output of mercury, which can harm pregnant women and put infants and children at risk of developmental problems.

Reuters December 29, 2018 00:07:40 IST
Trump EPA says limits on mercury emissions from coal plants not necessary

Trump EPA says limits on mercury emissions from coal plants not necessary

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration on Friday said limits on mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants were no longer necessary as their costs outweighed the benefits, a move environmentalists said was favorable for the coal industry and could increase health hazards.

Under the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards, or MATS, enacted under former President Barack Obama, coal plants have been forced to install expensive equipment to cut output of mercury, which can harm pregnant women and put infants and children at risk of developmental problems.

Since August, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been reconsidering the justification for the rule.

Electric utilities have pushed back on the potential loosening of requirements, saying they have already invested in technology to cut emissions of the dangerous pollutant.

In a statement issued on Friday during a partial government shutdown, the EPA said the emission standards of the MATS rule would remain in place. But it proposed to withdraw the justification for the requirements.

"EPA is proposing that it is not 'appropriate and necessary' to regulate HAP emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants... because the costs of such regulation grossly outweigh the quantified HAP benefits," it said.

The industry had challenged a 2016 conclusion by Obama's EPA that the rule was justified because savings to U.S. consumers on healthcare costs would exceed compliance costs. The calculations accounted for how pollution-control equipment would reduce emissions of other harmful substances in addition to mercury.

Since taking office in January 2017, Trump has targeted rolling back Obama-era environmental and climate protections to maximize production of domestic fossil fuels, including crude oil. U.S. oil production is the highest in the world, above Saudi Arabia and Russia, after a boom that was triggered more than a decade ago by improved drilling technology.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Dan Grebler)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.