Changing Winds on Air Pollution Standards

By Molly Moore
Back in December, environmental advocates cheered the arrival of the EPA’s long-awaited Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, which will limit the amount of mercury, arsenic, selenium, cyanide and other toxins released by new power plants.

The agency estimates the rule will prevent as many as 11,000 premature deaths and 4,700 heart attacks a year. In June, Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe introduced a resolution to block the rule, but a slim majority of senators voted to uphold the air toxics standards.

Just weeks after the rule was supported in the Senate, the EPA announced that it will review the standards and focus on how the rules will affect five particular planned power plants, including Plant Washington in Georgia. Industry and public health groups are watching to see how the EPA’s review impacts the strength of the pollution standards.

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