New US anti-pollution standards draw industry fire

Dec 21, 2011
The Department of Water and Power (DWP) San Fernando Valley Generating Station is seen in Sun Valley, California, 2011. US health campaigners Wednesday hailed the announcement of new anti-pollution standards for American manufacturers, but industry leaders condemned the rules for being costly and overly aggressive.

US health campaigners Wednesday hailed the announcement of new anti-pollution standards for American manufacturers, but industry leaders condemned the rules for being costly and overly aggressive.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said the first national standards to control power plant emissions of mercury and toxic would prevent up to 11,000 and 4,700 heart attacks annually.

"The standards will also help America's children grow up healthier -- preventing 130,000 cases of childhood and about 6,300 fewer cases of acute bronchitis among children each year," an EPA statement said.

However, the National Association of Manufacturers said the government agency had "finalized one of the most costly regulations that will do more damage to our economy and job growth."

A view of downtown Los Angeles, California, is seen on a smoggy afternoon in 2006. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said the first national standards to control power plant emissions of mercury and toxic air pollution would prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths and 4,700 heart attacks annually.

"In 2015 alone, Utility MACT will cost $11.4 billion," said NAM President Jay Timmons, referring to the rules, which he claimed typified the EPA's "overly aggressive agenda that is harming manufacturers' ability to compete."

"Utility companies have made clear that they will be forced to shut down power generation plants throughout the country, and the reliability of the power grid will be threatened if this rule is implemented," he added.

But the American Lung Association welcomed the EPA standards, which also target toxic air pollution from arsenic, acid gas, nickel, selenium, and cyanide, and described the new regulations as "long overdue."

"Since toxic air pollution from can make people sick and cut lives short, the new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards are a huge victory for public health," said Dr Albert Rizzo, the group's National Volunteer Chair.

"The Lung Association expects all oil and coal-fired power plants to act now to protect Americans, especially our children, from the health risks posed by these dangerous air pollutants," added Rizzo, a pulmonary and critical care specialist.

The regulations stem from the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, which placed tighter anti-pollution standards on power plants. Companies, however, have been fighting the legislation ever since.

The country's Natural Resources Defense Council also praised the new rules.

"After decades of industry-induced delay, the did exactly what it was designed to do: look out for our health and our environment," said Frances Beinecke, the group's president.

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User comments : 31

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Argiod
2.9 / 5 (10) Dec 21, 2011
So, instead of insisting these industries keep their process clean, charge them with the responsibility of cleaning up after the fact. Then let them decide which is cheaper: starting clean, or cleaning up after. Of course, if they chose to clean up after, they should also be held responsible for any damages done by the mess they make. And if someone dies as a result of their pollution, then charge them with willful manslaughter, and let the heads roll.

Of course, this is just my opinion; I could be wrong.
Davecoolman
1.9 / 5 (19) Dec 21, 2011
the EPA is out of control = Obama's economy/nation destroying mafia.
Davecoolman
1.9 / 5 (17) Dec 21, 2011
The EPA funds agencies that then sue the EPA to enforce ridiculous regulations. Then the EPA can wash their hands and say They made me do it, I couldnt help it. That government branch is way off the reservation; fire half the employees and start over or something, it is sick to the core. It is in bed with the groups it is funding, using them to sue itself in a never-ending orgy of symbiotic green greed.
Most importantly, take the EPA out of the trace gas business. Regulating CO2 is an incredibly stupid idea, but even if it werent, the EPA is not set up to handle it just create energy poverty and power shortages. Congress, you need to act here.
0rison
4.1 / 5 (13) Dec 21, 2011
You're contending with opinions of physicians and public health experts; perhaps you should come up with some real arguments to back your childish assertions. Tens of thousands of Americans have died of asbestos because mining interests fought regulation tooth and claw. Wake up -- read up -- and grow up.
Pirouette
2.8 / 5 (12) Dec 21, 2011
from the article:
""The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said the first national standards to control power plant emissions of mercury and toxic air pollution would prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths and 4,700 heart attacks annually.""

This is good. So all these new measures pushed by the EPA will save thousands of lives each year, not to mention saving on the medical costs in finding a cure for these illnesses, doctors' and hospital visits, and funeral home expenses.

"". . .the government agency had "finalized one of the most costly regulations that will do more damage to our economy and job growth.""

This is bad. Thousands of lives saved through the new EPA regulations. . .but jobs lost due to the regulations to help prevent the loss of life.
Now just a darn minute. . . .why should all these jobs be lost and the economy damaged, while all these lives are saved and the cost in human misery is alleviated after the air, soil and water wind up being cleaned?
Pirouette
3.3 / 5 (14) Dec 21, 2011
Is it that the jobs and a good economy depend on the ability to make people sick from breathing poisoned air. . . .and only with the pumping out of toxic fumes from power plants, can all these people find and retain employment? Surely, someone must have made a mistake, since people who are not sick are more likely to show up at work, rather than to get sick and die or have to take enormous amounts of sick leave. Something is very wrong with this concept. Perhaps the National Association of Manufacturers don't mind too much that employees call in sick often because the air is foul like in Beijing.
Trying to find the logic in all this, but somehow I can't.
Howhot
4.2 / 5 (10) Dec 21, 2011
I agree with Pirouette on this. Who wants to work in some foul polluted area, be sick from the poisons etc? Besides, it will probably employ more people to do the conversion of the plants from coal to cleaner systems. You will employ contractors, engineers and designers for the conversion, installation and operation of scrubber systems. You will employ specialized construction crews to convert plants from coal to gas, and as Piroutte points out, you will have a healthier future work force and better environment to work in.

Its a big win I think.
LuckyExplorer
2.4 / 5 (5) Dec 22, 2011
It is simple, cut the excessive manager bonuses, the in some cases incredible dividends just by a few % ...

... if the investment for anti-pollution measures would have been done successive instead of wasting the money for above mentioned issues, the industry would not have any reason to cry that loud...

... and the other way round, consequential costs from this pollution - costs we all are paying for - would be reduced dramatically.
rubberman
3.3 / 5 (7) Dec 22, 2011
"In 2015 alone, Utility MACT will cost $11.4 billion," said NAM President Jay Timmons, referring to the rules, which he claimed typified the EPA's "overly aggressive agenda that is harming manufacturers' ability to compete."

2009 US military budget - 680 billion.... quit whining! If the government can afford to spend this much on bullets to keep the population comfortable, they may as well be able to breath.
Hey Coolman, I here there is no EPA in Beijing, you'd like it there.
Vendicar_Decarian
3.6 / 5 (9) Dec 22, 2011
During the 2004 election cycle, Timmons served as Executive Director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. In this capacity, Timmons was a member of the Senate Republican Leadership staff, advising Senators and their senior aides on policy and campaign issues.

He oversees all policy development, communications, government relations and advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C. and around the country to advance the NAM agenda
Vendicar_Decarian
2.8 / 5 (11) Dec 22, 2011
"the EPA is out of control" - DaveCoolTard

DaveCoolTard supports the premature deaths of 11,000 Americans annually.

That makes him complicit in 4 times as many murders as Osama Bin Laden.

Pirouette
2.8 / 5 (9) Dec 22, 2011
OK. .I see what it is. The power plants that use fossil fuels DO NOT WANT to hire any EXTRA employees to design, construct and maintain the cleaners and scrubbers, even if they're only temporary or contract workers, because that would be extra money that would have to be spent, and that disturbs their "bottom line". The power plants sell the electricity they produce from fossil fuels to private and government electric companies who in turn get paid by their customers for usage Even though the electric companies get paid so that they can meet their payroll for electricians, pole climbers, damage mitigation crews, etc., they also have to pay huge amounts to the power plants where the grid power originates. If the power plant management have to hire more people to construct and maintain scrubbers, etc., then that is less money for profit, meeting their own payroll, paying taxes, buying more equipment, etc. etc. and paying to support fossil fuels digs to keep them supplied.
Pirouette
1.7 / 5 (6) Dec 22, 2011
Without a profit, taxes don't get paid, payrolls aren't met, etc. etc. and customers of electric companies get their Killowatt hours costs raised higher to compensate for the lost revenue from hiring extra people and scrubbing equipment, etc.
Last year, I overheard a woman at the bank say that her electric bill for the previous month was $500 U.S. dollats. She didn't know how she could pay it. But that was a pretty common story last winter.
Pirouette
2 / 5 (7) Dec 22, 2011
I think the only solution to this is for researchers to invent more efficient and cheaper scrubbers that are easy to maintain by trained employees who are already presently employed by the power plants.
The have to improve the technology.
Vendicar_Decarian
2 / 5 (5) Dec 22, 2011
"I overheard a woman at the bank say that her electric bill for the previous month was $500 U.S. dollats." - Spirochete

Ahahahaha... What a pack of pathetic fools.

Mine was $20.
dschlink
5 / 5 (3) Dec 22, 2011
Unfortunately, Pirouette, pointing out that a task is worth doing and doing it are worlds apart. I believe the problem is stated as: you can't make something clean without making something else dirty. But you can make everything dirty without making anything clean.
Pirouette
1.6 / 5 (7) Dec 23, 2011
@dschlink. . .i agree with that. . . I was just pointing out cause and effect of power plant managers hiring extra people to perform the work that quite possibly their present workers can do for much less cost of hiring the extra personnel. Training should be relatively easy and a small raise in salary should give an incentive to learning the process and manning the equipment. An anti-pollution air scrubber that has been improved to filter out 2.5 microns or less would be even better if 2 of them were utilized in tandem. . .e.g. one above the other with a space of about 12 inches in every smokestack. That way, while one is being cleaned, the other is still filtering for, as you know, power plants work 24/7. I don't know if 3 scrubbers in tandem would be so good due to possible backup of the smoke. But hey, it's worth a try.
Pirouette
1.6 / 5 (7) Dec 23, 2011
The scrubbers should be either at the top or near the top of each smokestack or at the bottom. Being at the top would be hazardous to any work crew on a cherry-picker truck, so it might be less dangerous to place them at or near the bottom. Does anyone know the shape and dimensions of these scrubbers, or what they should be?
Vendicar_Decarian
2 / 5 (4) Dec 23, 2011
"Does anyone know the shape and dimensions of these scrubbers" - Spirochete

They should be several kilometers to a side, gelatinous and transparent.

omatumr
1 / 5 (9) Dec 23, 2011
It is no mere coincidence that "Corruption of America" caused

a.) Economic collapse:

www.stansberryres...sue.html

b.) The AGW scandal:

http://dl.dropbox...oots.pdf

Over the same time span (1971-2011)

Despite the blunders of world leaders, there is a Christmas message of Hope for everyone facing the economic turmoils and fears that Al Gore, the UN et al. promoted:

http://dl.dropbox...Fear.pdf

In fact world leaders are totally powerless over nature, or as my late brother-in-law might have said,

"Big Brother's Butt!"

Best wishes for the Holidays and the New Year!

Today all is well,
Oliver K. Manuel
Pirouette
2 / 5 (8) Dec 23, 2011
Vendicartoon. . . .you are a fool. . .give it up already. . .your jokes are getting stale. Just put on your sexy skirt, push up bra and fishnet stockings and go out dancing. You've been indoors too long..
Roland
not rated yet Dec 24, 2011
The easy way for these old coal plants to comply is to switch to cheap, plentiful, clean natural gas. That will keep down your electric bill. Maybe not so good for railroads, but good riddance to coal! And with fewer heavy coal trains, the tracks will stay in better shape for passenger trains.
Howhot
2 / 5 (4) Dec 24, 2011
All you need is a coal plant a mile or two upwind to learn just how crappy it is to deal with fly-ash and very very fine coal soot. Burning coal in a furnace to create steam and run a turbine made perfect 100 years ago. Not so much now with the known environmental and health consequences.

Natural gas makes better sense for a cleaner electricity generator, as long as NatGas prices don't skyrocket as they have in the past. I think the pressure that Obama has put on the polluters is a good thing and may for some changes for the better.
sniegu84
5 / 5 (1) Dec 25, 2011
I am European and I'm glad that EU takes care about agressive influence of manufacturing. I don't want my children live in the world where they have to have mask on their mouth. I am appset why for Americans more important is economy, money instead their health and life? EU has economic problems right now but still I want to live here. Dozen of reasons. I am interesting how much money would America save when start live in balanced way. America should give an example how to live healthier but there isn't such.
Forestgnome
1 / 5 (2) Dec 25, 2011
So you all are going to just accept as fact that the cleanest power plants in man's history are causing 11,000 premature deaths and 4,700 heart attacks a year? Just another case of alarmists using the slimmist factual evidence to justify control of a free society. A free society should not be burdened by regulation without overwhelming evidence of a danger. The Love Canal exhibited overwhelming evidence, and needed government intervention. This does not, and does not.
Cin5456
5 / 5 (1) Dec 25, 2011
So you all are going to just accept as fact that the cleanest power plants in man's history are causing 11,000 premature deaths and 4,700 heart attacks a year?


How can you say these are the cleanest power plants in man's history? The majority of the power plants are over 40 years old.

And, there are 10 plants that were scheduled to go offline in 2011, and 17 that are scheduled to go offline for retirement in 2012. Don't let those energy companies fool you. They will close those plants regardless of the EPA standards. 5 more will shut down in 2013, and 14 more in 2014. Only 6 new plants have been built since the EPA standards rose in 1990, and they were not fitted with the new technology, even though that technology was available at the time the new standards came out. The energy companies are planning to hold energy hostage until the government caves in or all their plants retire.
http://www.source...l_Plants
Burnerjack
1 / 5 (1) Dec 25, 2011
VD, my electric bill would be $20 too, if I lived in my parent's basement instead of my own house.
_nigmatic10
1 / 5 (2) Dec 26, 2011
I am all for stricter pollution policies on the residing factories and plants, but fail to see anything positive being done to retrieve or bring back any of those industries that have left. Continuing to punish and drive away the industries will only continue to cripple the economy.

On a side note, i recently got my electric bill, which has over $50 in taxes alone. This was on a $150 bill. Absolutely out of control.
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (1) Dec 26, 2011
"VD, my electric bill would be $20 too, if I lived in my parent's basement instead of my own house." - Burnerjack

Wow, that is almost funny.

As luck would have it, I just paid my hydro bill for the last two months.

It breaks down as follows.

Off Peak usage $20.13
Mid Peak Usage $7.38
On Peak Usage $7.44

Total $34,95

Average per month $17.48

Power consumption is down 1% from last year, and should drop a further 25% starting the first of the new year.

Why are you such a failure?

Howhot
3 / 5 (2) Dec 26, 2011
@forestbegon:
The Love Canal exhibited overwhelming evidence, and needed government intervention. This does not, and does not.


Please see the link below. I think it will change your mind.

http://www.futuri...in-soil/

If your kids like to fish in the streams/lakes and rivers around coal fired plants, I would be concerned. In fact a lot of sea food is tainted with mercury from coal plant fly ash just from the food chain and the mechanism of heavy metal bio transference.
GSwift7
1 / 5 (3) Dec 30, 2011
The country's Natural Resources Defense Council also praised the new rules


The article makes them sound like a Government agency, but they aren't.

And if someone dies as a result of their pollution, then charge them with willful manslaughter, and let the heads roll


You better stop driving your car then. You should take a moment to read your own comment and ask yourself "does that sound like a crazy person?". Hint: the answer is "yes".

Both sides of the above debate are guilty of making misleading claims, so beware what you read and evaluate the things they say before you buy into any of it. I love it when the EPA makes those claims about how many lives will be saved and such. What a load of nonsense. They could be right, but there's no way in heck they can prove it. The actual numbers could be 100 times more than that, or 1 tenth of that, and nobody will ever know.

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