Good news (finally!) from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Late December the EPA announced a rule that will force coal- and oil-fired power plants to control mercury and other toxic pollutant emissions for the first time ever. It is about darn time!
However, they have until 2016 to do it, with possible extensions for certain plants. Lobbyists for the industry pushed for even longer extensions and weaker regulations, and although the EPA did offer some flexibility, after 20 years of zero regulation, the time has come to reduce these harmful toxins. By 2016 mercury pollution from burning coal will be reduced by 90 percent, acid gases by 88 percent, and sulfur dioxide by 41 percent.
This is good news for everyone. Air pollution is one of those toxin sources that are difficult to control on an individual level. Sure, you can move to the cleanest city in the country, but that doesn’t mean you won’t still be exposed to some air pollution. Even in 2016, we will still be exposed to air pollution from other countries, highlighting the importance of this issue on a global level, but this is certainly a step in the right direction. I like spreading good news when I can.