EPA mercury rule in legal jeopardy?

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.

5 thoughts on “EPA mercury rule in legal jeopardy?”

  1. The EPA has long abandoned its role as a neutral science adviser (if it ever was that). Just look at Lisa Jackson’s background, and her goals for “environmental justice” to see where it’s headed unless we stop it ASAP.

  2. I predict that EPA’s justifying response (assuming this goes to court), is that Hg emissions from power plants cause Hg “hot spots” of bioaccumulation in the vicinity of plants. Of course, this will be demonstrated by deposition modeling and accumulation of Hg in a “reference fish”.

  3. “IQ improvements”? Really? Perhaps instead of “show me the bodies”, Mr. Milloy can add to that, “show me the geniuses”.

    The $6 million “benefits” are not at all worth the hundreds of $ millions/yr it will cost to remove Hg with PAC.

    Even if EPA is correct in their Hg “benefits”, the benefit to cost ratio is at least as low as $0.01 for every dollar spent in material cost alone. This does not include the capital cost for ACI systems and associated disposal costs.

    Only a mindless bureaucrat could justify such a “savings”.

    Anyone know what the legal test is for the “appropriate and necessary” weasel words?

    If I owned stock in PAC suppliers, I would dump it fast if the courts rule sensibly.

  4. Ms Jackson has pointed out a number of times that this rule will prevent asthma attacks due to the reduction in particulates. Hmmm. The amount of particulates from from power plants has been going down as new technologies have been installed and the operation of existing ones improved. So why have asthma attacks been goiing up?

    One more interesting question about this rule. Why do the populations in Sweden and Norway still continue to function, when they have have a much greater body burden of that poisonous, toxic, neurotoxin named mercury due to their fish consumption? According to EPA, they should all have IQs of about 50.

  5. This is all so very confusing. I am supposed to welcome Mercury into my home via lighting mandated by the EPA, but eliminate it from the place that makes the electricity to power the Mercury filled bulbs. It is good that the government is enlightened. If not I would think this a stupid idea.

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