EPA nears completion of power sector regs

By Sean Reilly | 04/15/2024 01:31 PM EDT

The regulations will be the first update to the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards since the landmark rules were issued in 2012.

Emissions spew from a large stack at the coal fired Brandon Shores Power Plant.

Emissions spew from a large stack at the coal-fired Brandon Shores power plant on March 9, 2018, in Baltimore. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

EPA is poised to toughen air toxics regulations on hundreds of coal-fired power plants, undoing a Trump-era decision that no changes were needed.

Exactly how far regulators will go, however, in the face of cross-cutting pressures remains unclear.

Under the draft rule released a year ago, the agency proposed to shut a loophole for electricity plants — mainly located in North Dakota and Texas — that burn a particularly high-polluting form of coal known as lignite. The proposal would also tighten limits on a type of particulate matter that serves as a stand-in for releases of nickel, arsenic and other metals besides mercury.


The draft was among a running series of air, land and water rules targeting pollution from the coal-fired power sector. The White House regulations office completed a routine review of the final version Friday, according to a notice on a government tracking website, and EPA is now preparing it for Administrator Michael Regan to sign, a spokesperson said in a Monday email. Public release will then follow.