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EPA Updates Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for New Power Plants/ Agency also proposes updates to oil and gas storage tank standards

Release Date: 03/29/2013
Contact Information: Enesta Jones,, 202-564-7873, 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued updates to pollution limits for new power plants under the mercury and air toxics standards, based on new information and analysis that became available to the agency after the rule was finalized.

The updates are largely technical in nature and will have no impact on the sensible, achievable and cost-effective standards already set for existing power plants. The public health benefits and costs of the rule remain unchanged. EPA estimates that the standards, which will protect the health of millions of families, especially children, will prevent as many as 11,000 premature deaths and 4,700 heart attacks every year. The standards will also help America’s children grow up healthier-- preventing 130,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms and about 6,300 fewer cases of acute bronchitis among children each year.

The updated standards only apply to future power plants and do not change the types of pollution control technology that plants would install. The updates ensure that emissions limits are achievable and that pollution levels can be measured continuously.

EPA’s mercury and air toxics standards are the first national standards to protect American families from power plant emissions of mercury and toxic air pollution like arsenic, acid gas, nickel, selenium and cyanide. EPA considered dozens of public comments from a range of stakeholders, including industry and environmental groups, as part of the public process to update the new source standards.

Also on March 28, 2013, EPA proposed updates to the agency’s 2012 performance standards for storage tanks used in oil and natural gas production. The proposed changes reflect recent information showing that more higher-volume storage tanks will be coming on line than the agency originally estimated and would provide storage tank owners and operators additional time to comply with a requirement to reduce volatile organic compound emissions while equipment to reduce those emissions is being manufactured. EPA will take comment on today’s proposal for 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register and will hold a public hearing if requested.

More information on MATS:

More information on the proposed updates to the oil and gas regulations: