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Moving Toward a Cleaner, Safer, Healthier Environment

Clean Air

Clean Air Mercury Rule

For the first time ever, mercury emissions from the Nation's coal-fired power plants will be regulated. The Bush Administration proposal was issued in December 2003, and a final rule will be released in March 2005. The Clean Air Mercury Rule will cut mercury emissions by 70 percent. The proposed rule seeks comment on two approaches for reducing mercury emitted by coal-burning power plants in the United States. One approach requires coal-fired power plants to install currently available pollution controls known as "maximum achievable control technologies" (MACT) under section 112 of the Clean Air Act. The second approach sets a mandatory cap on the total mercury emissions allowed from coal-burning power plants nationwide. This market-based approach would reduce mercury emissions by nearly 70 percent from current levels. The cap-and-trade approach, based on the successful Acid Rain Program created by the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments, delivers greater benefits than its command-and-control alternative. It requires power plants to meet strict emission caps in two phases. Strict caps combined with emissions trading encourage innovation and the deployment of cleaner, more cost-effective pollution-reducing technologies.

Myths and Facts of Mercury Regulation

Myth #1: The EPA does not regard mercury as a toxin.

  • Fact: EPA recognizes mercury as a toxin and that it needs to be reduced under the Clean Air Act.

Myth #2: EPA is rolling back the standard.

  • Fact: Currently, there is no standard. The Bush Administration is setting the standard for the first time in the United States.

Myth #3: Technology exists to reduce mercury by 90 percent by 2007.

  • Fact: EPA scientists do not believe that new technologies will be widely distributable to control mercury emissions from all coal and boiler types until after 2010.

Myth #4: EPA is delaying the benefits of mercury regulation until 2018.

  • Fact: The substantial amount of emissions reductions, using a cap and trade system, will be in the early stages. There are incentives for early reductions with the credit banking program.



Cleaner Air

Addressing Global Climate Change

Cleaner Water

Cleaner Lands

Healthier Ecosystems

A Cleaner, Healthier World Community

Healthier People

President Bush’s Performance-Based FY 2005 Budget


September 2004