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Reducing Air Pollution from Power Plants

Reducing Air Pollution from Power Plants

EPA is taking action to reduce mercury, acid gas, and other life-threatening air emissions from power plants. Through three coordinated regulatory approaches under the Clean Air Act, EPA will put long-delayed public health protections into place.


December 21, 2011 - EPA finalizes Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) the first national Clean Air Act standards to reduce mercury and other toxic air pollution from coal and
oil‐fired power plants..

July 6, 2011 - EPA finalizes Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), which requires 27 states to improve air quality by reducing power plant emissions that contribute to ozone and/or fine particle pollution in other states.

While some power plants are well controlled, many are not. These rules will rely upon proven and widely available emissions control technologies to level the playing field and assure that all power plants follow the same rules. Installing emissions controls will help modernize our aging fleet of uncontrolled power plants, most of which are over 30 years old. Meeting the requirements of these rules will create good jobs for American workers building, installing, and operating emissions control equipment.

Power plants release mercury, other metals, acid gases, and particles that harm people's health.

  • Mercury causes neurological damage, including lost IQ points, in unborn babies and young children exposed during the first few years of life.
  • Metals such as arsenic, chromium, and nickel can cause cancer.
  • Acid gases cause lung damage and contribute to asthma, bronchitis and other chronic respiratory disease, especially in children and the elderly.
  • Particles cause premature death and a wide range of lung and heart diseases.

EPA is taking a coordinated approach to control air emissions from power plants. Issuing several standards to limit multiple pollutants from power plants provides the industry with the certainty they need to make smart and cost-effective investments in control technology. Our three pronged approach includes:

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