Southeastern States Seek Delay of Clean Air Rule

Guest Blog | October 11, 2011 | Press Releases

Knoxville, Tenn. (October 11, 2011) – Twenty-five states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee filed a brief yesterday urging a federal court to delay the Environmental Protection Agency’s crucial proposed mercury rule, known as the Utility MACT rule. EPA introduced the proposed rule, on March 16, 2011 after more than 20 years of development and delay. The rule would set first-ever national standards for mercury emissions from coal plants as well as other hazardous air pollutants. According to a court order, EPA must finalize the rule by November 16, 2011. In their brief, the states argue that 20 years is too little time for EPA to develop this rule and that unless the rule if further delayed, electric reliability is at risk. SACE Executive Director Dr. Stephen A. Smith had the following statement about efforts to delay the proposed MACT rule: “For decades Southeastern utilities and some out-of-touch politicians have fought any standards that limit pollution from coal plants. The states that want to delay this rule are afraid of anything but business as usual and would rather have pollution as usual over protection of human health and the environment. “Again and again, they argue that protecting human health will make electricity unreliable, but experts, including Republican commissioners from the Federal Energy and Regulatory Commission (FERC) and senior electric utility executives, tell us that limiting hazardous air pollution will not force us to turn out the lights. Not only will the lights stay on, this rule will create thousands of jobs, produce as much as $130 billion dollars in net benefits to our economy and save thousands of lives each year. “It’s time Southeastern states took a stand for public health and the environment instead of a stand to protect utility interests and the status quo. Mercury poisoning is a serious problem in nearly ALL waterways in the Southeast. This new rule would prevent 91 percent of the mercury in coal burned at power plants from being emitted to the air; save 17,000 lives each year; and create 31,000 temporary and 9,000 permanent jobs. EPA and President Obama need to stand firm and issue this new mercury rule on November 16th.” To learn more about the rule read SACE’s blog post on the Utility MACT proposal. For more information on reliability issues read our post on Congress’s recent FERC hearing. # # # Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the