Environmental Protection Agency to Reconsider Previous Administration’s Controversial “War on Coal” Regulations

Sep 7, 2018

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that it would be reconsidering the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), a regulation imposed in the Obama administration governing the amount of mercury and other pollutants released by coal plants. The MATS was introduced in 2012 as part of the previous administration’s efforts to clamp down on harmful emissions from coal-fired power plants under the Clean Air Act. When it was first introduced, advocates of the regulation asserted that it would produce health benefits of $37 billion and $90 billion each year in the form of fewer premature deaths, heart and asthma attacks.

Conversely, at the time of introduction it was calculated that the MATS regulation would cost the power plant industry approximately $9.6 billion annually to comply. Opponents of the regulation called the MATS part of President Obama’s “war on coal” arguing that these additional costs would lead to job loss and plant closures. Following the implementation of the MATS regulation, Bloomberg New Energy Finance reports that nearly one-fifth of coal-fired power plants were forced to shut down.

Reconsideration of the MATS standard is one of several EPA regulations implemented under the Obama administration that the current administration is reviewing. “One of a number of issues EPA is assessing in the context of the appropriate and necessary analysis is striking the right balance when accounting for co-benefits,” EPA spokeswoman Molly Block recently explained. “EPA knows these issues are of importance to the regulated community and the public at large and is committed to a thoughtful and transparent regulatory process in addressing them.”

For further information on the MATS regulation, click here: https://www.epa.gov/mats