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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

April 2, 2013
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air pollutionThe 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 standards already set for existing power plants. The public health benefits and costs of the rule remain unchanged. The EPA says the standards will prevent as many as 11,000 premature deaths and 4,700 heart attacks every year. The agency also says they will result in 130,000 fewer cases of childhood asthma symptoms and about 6,300 fewer cases of acute bronchitis among U.S. 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,” according to a statement released by the EPA.

Oil and gas storage tanks standards up for changes

The EPA has also 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. The agency will take comment on the proposal for 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register and will hold a public hearing if requested.

More information on MATS: http://epa.gov/mats/actions.html

More information on the proposed updates to the oil and gas regulations: http://www.epa.gov/airquality/oilandgas/actions.html

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