Groups Seek Tougher EPA Rules on Mercury from Power Plants
WASHINGTON — Some of the nation's top environmental groups said Tuesday they will join the efforts of at least 13 states hoping to force industry to install mercury pollution controls tougher than those imposed this spring by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA in March issued new regulations that it said would cut mercury pollution from power plants in half by 2020, from 48 tons a year now to 24.3 tons. The new rules rely on the markets to reduce pollution, with companies buying and selling allotted pollution limits.
Opponents of the new rules contend the agency should have required each plant to install the most effective technology to capture mercury emissions.
Attorney generals from at least 13 states, led by New Jersey, challenged the rules in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District court in Washington.
The Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation and Environmental Defense said they will file a separate legal challenge on Wednesday.
The Clean Air Task Force, representing the U.S. Public Research Interest Group, Natural Resources Council of Maine and the Ohio Environmental Council said it would file another lawsuit.
The Waterkeeper Alliance, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and Conservation Law Foundation planned a third legal action. And the Natural Resources Defense Council said it would file its own challenge.
"This collective effort demonstrates widespread consensus that EPA's approach to regulating mercury and other air toxics from coal-fired power plants leaves public health at risk and violates the law," said Felice Stadler of the National Wildlife Federation.
The Bush administration will "vigorously defend the Clean Air Mercury Rule against any challenges," EPA spokeswoman Eryn Witcher said. "EPA and the Bush Administration believe that we must act now to effectively reduce emissions of mercury from power plants."
Source: Associated Press