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EPA to Curb Power Plant Pollution

The EPA and environmental and public health organizations have reached an agreement that will regulate toxic air emissions from the nation's existing and new coal- and oil-fired electric power plants to the maximum achievable extent.

According to the EPA's own data, coal- and oil-fired power plants are the largest unregulated industrial emitters of toxic air emissions, including mercury, arsenic, nickel, chromium, cadmium, acid gases and dioxins. An estimated 1,100 coal-fired units at more than 450 existing power plants spew some 96,000 pounds of mercury into the air each year, threatening the health of people, fish and wildlife everywhere.

"We welcome the court's decision," said Earthjustice attorney James Pew, who represented Sierra Club and Environmental Defense Fund. "It ends the litigation and lets the real work begin: cleaning our air and water of the toxins that coal- and oil-fired power plants have been filling them with for far too long."

Under terms of the agreement, which was approved by U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer of the District of Columbia in April 2010, national standards will be finalized by November 16, 2011.