The National Association of Manufacturers issued a statement that called the EPA proposal "yet another example of overreaching regulation that will negatively influence the bottom line for manufacturers and the American people."
EPA said the proposal is "in keeping with President Obama's order on regulatory reform" in that it gives "industry significant flexibility in implementation through a phased-in approach and use of already existing technologies."
The EPA proposal, which is now subject to public review and comment, would require power plants to meet tough standards for emissions of mercury, arsenic, chromium, nickel and acid gases.
Currently, more than half of all coal-fired power plants already deploy widely available pollution control technologies that allow them to meet the proposed standards, EPA said.
"The updated standards will provide a first-ever level playing field for all power plants across the country, ensure that they play by the same rules, and provide more certainty to business," EPA said in announcing its proposal.
More than 20 year ago, when it passed the 1990 Clean Air Act, Congress mandated that EPA require set numeric emissions limits for major sources of hazardous air pollutants, and to determine if such limits were needed for power plants. The Clinton administration determined limits were needed for power plants, but the Bush administration reversed that action.
Power plants are responsible for 50 percent of mercury emissions, more than half of acid gas emissions, and about one-quarter of toxic metal emissions in the United States, EPA said.
"When it becomes final, the cleanup rule that the EPA is putting forward today will save lives, protect the health of millions of Americans and finally bring about an action that is 20 years overdue," said American Lung Association President Charles D. Connor, who joined Jackson at an event where the proposal was announced.
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.