The Environmental Protection Agency clams its “final proposed” Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rules will eliminate nearly all toxic pollution from electrical generating units, bring over $60 billion in annual health benefits, and prevent thousands of premature deaths yearly – all for “only” $11 billion a year in compliance costs.
All of this may be true in the virtual reality of EPA computer models, linear extrapolations, cherry-picked health studies and statistics, government press releases and agency-generated public comments. However, in the real world inhabited by families, employers and other energy users, the new rules will bring few benefits, but will impose extensive costs that the agency chose to minimize or ignore in its analysis.
Emissions of mercury and other air toxics from power plants have been declining steadily for decades, as older generating units have been replaced with more efficient, less polluting systems or been retrofitted with better pollution control technologies. While a few older plants still violate EPA’s proposed rules –the new rules are simply not based on credible scientific and epidemiological studies. (more…)