As we’ve said, there are no benefits from reducing mercury emissions from power plants.
As reported by EPA-friendly InsideEPA.com:
…But the [EPA] was largely unable to quantify the benefits of reducing mercury and other HAPs even though the rule seeks to regulate them.
Instead, the agency estimated that the rule — expected to impose $9.6 billion in annual costs — provides $37 billion to $90 billion in benefits in 2016 largely from reduced PM2.5 emissions that curtail premature deaths, asthma attacks and other maladies. EPA analysis shows the agency estimated that only about $6 million of the total economic benefits can be attributed to mercury reductions — due to IQ improvements…
Industry and other sources say the cost-benefit analysis may bolster their efforts to challenge the “appropriate and necessary” finding in an almost certain court challenge.
“They have a problem when it gets to court,” an industry source says, noting that Obama EPA will have to defend its finding in the face of Bush EPA in the past finding that section 112 regulation was unnecessary and current analyses showing the risks are low. The source also notes that EPA already has a program to reduce PM2.5 — namely, national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) — which raises the question of whether a MACT program is needed. “I think this is their biggest legal vulnerability,” the source says.
A second industry source concurs, saying that EPA’s approach in the rule creates “somewhat of an inconsistency with what EPA is doing to justify this rule.” The source also argues that EPA in the final rule does not provide adequate justification for its decision to regulate acid gases from power plants and only provides minimal justification for its decision to regulate metals from such sources.