EPA Mercury Rule for Power Plants to Be Unveiled at Hospital

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will release standards to combat air-toxics emissions from power plants during an event tomorrow at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and public health officials will attend the 2 p.m. Washington time announcement, according to an e-mail today from the agency.

The regulation, the most expensive order being considered by President Barack Obama’s administration, was formally signed by the agency Dec. 16, according to spokeswoman Betsaida Alcantara. American Electric Power Co. (AEP), Southern Co. (SO) and other power producers reliant upon coal have urged the EPA to give companies an additional year to comply with the new rules.

The EPA says the standard would save lives and create 9,000 more jobs than would be lost, as power plants invest billions of dollars to install pollution scrubbing systems or build cleaner natural-gas plants. It estimates the regulation could prevent 17,000 premature deaths from toxic emissions.

The EPA proposal incorporates three separate limits: one for mercury, a second for acid gases and a third for particulate matter, which is used to target emissions of metals such as chromium, selenium and cadmium. Taken together, the health and economic benefits from cleaning up pollution will dwarf the costs to industry, according to the agency’s analysis.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Drajem in Washington at mdrajem@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Geimann at sgeimann@bloomberg.net

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