? _ RS22817 - The D.C. Circuit Rejects the EPA's Mercury Rules: New Jersey vs. EPA
9-Apr-2008; Robert Meltz and James E. McCarthy; 6 p.

Abstract: On February 8, 2008, the D.C. Circuit decided New Jersey v. EPA, unanimously vacating two EPA rules under the Clean Air Act (CAA) regarding emissions of mercury from electric utility steam generating units (EGUs). The two rules had the effect of shifting EPA regulation of power-plant emissions of mercury from the more stringent and less flexible regime under CAA section 112, governing hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), to the less stringent and more flexible one under CAA section 111, authorizing national emission standards for new stationary sources. The court decision, unless reversed or circumvented by EPA’s properly removing EGUs from section 112, will mean that each individual EGU will have to meet strict Maximum Achievable Control Technology standards, and that no cap-and-trade program will be authorized. Setting such standards might take time, however, as EPA gathers information on current emission levels and the effectiveness of control technologies, delaying the effective date of national mercury emission standards for EGUs to as late as 2014, according to knowledgeable observers. Legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate to speed this process (S. 2643 and H.R. 1087).

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Topics: Waste Management, Legislative

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