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EPA's Utility MACT Proposal: Negative Economics for What?

By Scott Segal -- March 17, 2011

[Editor note: This new white paper by the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council (ERCC) is summarized by director Scott Segal (full bio below). ERCC is a coalition of power companies that works with labor unions, consumers, and manufacturing and service businesses on clean air issues.]

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has now signed a proposal to advance a new maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standard for the electric utility industry, known as the Utility MACT.

Back in 1998, the EPA made a finding regarding the need to regulate mercury emissions from power plants. At the time, EPA made clear that there were no incremental benefits associated with addressing any other hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) from the power sector other than mercury. Specifically, no health benefits were found from addressing non-mercury HAPs such as acid gases.…