Industry groups rail against new US air emission standards

21 December 2011 23:12  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Two industry groups on Wednesday voiced their displeasure with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA)  new standards limiting mercury and toxic air emissions.

The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) requires power plants and other generating units to install emission control technologies that will reduce mercury emissions by about 90%; acid gases by 88%; and sulphur dioxide by 41%.

It goes into effect in April 2012. Companies will have up to four years to implement the changes.

Jay Timmons, the president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, said the new regulations will damage the economy and hinder job growth.

“In 2015 alone, Utility MACT will cost $11.4bn [€8.7bn],” Timmons said. “Utility companies have made clear that they will be forced to shut down power generation plants throughout the country, and the reliability of the power grid will be threatened if this rule is implemented.”

He said the regulations will force electricity prices up, further debilitating the ability of manufacturers to create jobs, invest and increase the value of their companies.

Edison Electric Institute president Tom Kuhn said the rule was the most expensive in the EPA’s history.

“It will require a significant number of electric generating units to design, obtain approval for and install complex controls or replacements in a very short timeframe,” Kuhn said. “In some cases, it will mean that new transmission and natural gas pipelines will have to be built.”

But not everyone shared the same sentiments.

Albert Rizzo, of the American Lung Association, said MATS was a huge victory for public health.

“The Lung Association expects all oil and coal-fired power plants to act now to protect all Americans, especially our children, from the health risks imposed by these dangerous air pollutants,” he said.

Alan Baker, of the American Public Health Association, said there are dangerous health risks associated with coal-burning power plants.

“Exposure to air pollution and toxic chemicals can cause asthma and heart attacks, harm those suffering from respiratory illness and in some cases lead to death,” he said. “Implementing these critically needed standards could mean the difference between a chronic debilitating, expensive illness or healthy life for hundreds of thousands of American children and adults.”

($1 = €0.76)

By: Bobbie Clark
+1 713 525 2653

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