WASHINGTON (May 19, 2005) -- NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) today filed a lawsuit challenging a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that establishes weak, delayed caps for mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants. The rule, published yesterday in the Federal Register, also permits "trading" of mercury pollution, in violation of the Clean Air Act. As a result, power plants will not have to make significant pollution reductions for years or even decades, and some dirty plants may escape regulation altogether, perpetuating so-called "hot spots" of harmful mercury pollution.
This lawsuit complements suits filed yesterday by NRDC and other environmental groups. Those suits challenge a separate rule that removed power plants from the Clean Air Act's list of pollution sources for which EPA must establish strict, technologically-based pollution standards. Together, EPA's "delisting" and "cap-and-trade" rules permit power plants to escape meaningful regulation of their toxic pollution, leaving children and other vulnerable populations at risk for serious, adverse health effects.