Another gift to coal: EPA looks to roll back limits on mercury pollution

The Trump administration is on a pro-coal tear. Less than a week after announcing its flimsy replacement of the Clean Power Plan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is now setting its sights on weakening another major pollution regulation—limits on emissions of mercury, a neurotoxin that finds its way into aquatic ecosystems and, eventually, our bodies, as well as more than 80 other toxins, like lead and arsenic. According to the EPA’s own estimates, the Obama-era mercury rule (which largely affects coal-fired power plants) has saved tens of thousands of lives and avoided hundreds of thousands of asthma and heart attacks. Its economic and health benefits for Americans far outweigh industry compliance costs. While coal-burning power plant companies initially fought the ruling in court, they’ve since invested billions in the upgraded technology to curb their mercury and toxic air releases. Meaning: It makes no sense to roll the rule back now. Or, as NRDC’s resident Clean Air Act expert John Walke says, “This is reckless chaos for the sake of chaos.”

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