Trump EPA orders rollback of Obama mercury regulations (Update)

EPA targets Obama crackdown on mercury from coal plants
In this July 27, 2018, file photo, the Dave Johnson coal-fired power plant is silhouetted against the morning sun in Glenrock, Wyo. The Trump administration on Friday targeted an Obama-era regulation credited with helping dramatically reduce toxic mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants, saying the benefits to human health and the environment may not be worth the cost of the regulation. The 2011 Obama administration rule, called the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, led to what electric utilities say was an $18 billion clean-up of mercury and other toxins from the smokestacks of coal-fired power plants. (AP Photo/J. David Ake, File)

The Trump administration has targeted an Obama-era regulation credited with helping dramatically reduce toxic mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants, saying the benefits to human health and the environment may not be worth the cost of the regulation.

The 2011 Obama administration rule, called the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, led to what electric utilities say was an $18 billion clean-up of mercury and other toxins from the smokestacks of coal-fired power plants.

Overall, environmental groups say, federal and state efforts have cut mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants by 85 percent in roughly the last decade.

Mercury causes brain damage, learning disabilities and other birth defects in children, among other harm. Coal power plants in this country are the largest single manmade source of mercury pollutants, which enters the food chain through fish and other items that people consume.

The proposal Friday from the Environmental Protection Agency challenges the basis for the Obama regulation. It calculates that the crackdown on mercury and other toxins from coal plants produced only a few million dollars a year in measurable health benefits and was not "appropriate and necessary"—a legal benchmark under the country's landmark Clean Air Act.

The proposal, which now goes up for public comment before any final administration approval, would leave the current mercury regulation in place.

However, the EPA said it will seek comment during a 60-day public-review period on whether "we would be obligated to rescind" the Obama-era rule if the agency adopts Friday's finding that the regulation was not appropriate and necessary. Any such change would trigger new rounds in what have already been years of court battles over regulating mercury pollution from coal plants.

This move is the latest by the Trump administration that changes estimates of the costs and payoffs of regulations as part of an overhaul of Obama-era environmental protections.

It's also the administration's latest proposed move on behalf of the U.S. coal industry, which has been struggling in the face of competition from natural gas and other cheaper, cleaner forms of energy. The Trump administration in August proposed an overhaul for another Obama-era regulation that would have prodded electricity providers to get less of their energy from dirtier-burning coal plants.

In a statement, the EPA said Friday the administration was "providing regulatory certainty" by more accurately estimating the costs and benefits of the Obama administration crackdown on mercury and other toxic emissions from smokestacks.

Hal Quinn, head of the National Mining Association, charged in a statement Friday that the Obama administration had carried out "perhaps the largest regulatory accounting fraud perpetrated on American consumers" when it calculated that the broad health benefits to Americans would outweigh the cost of equipment upgrades by power providers.

Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, the top Democrat on the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee, condemned the Trump administration's move.

The EPA has "decided to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory" after the successful clean-up of toxins from the country's coal-plant smokestacks, Carper said.

He and other opponents of the move said the Trump administration was playing with numbers, ignoring what Carper said were clear health, environmental and economic benefits to come up with a bottom line that suited the administration's deregulatory aims.

Janet McCabe, a former air-quality official in the Obama administration's EPA, called the proposal part of "the quiet dismantling of the regulatory framework" for the federal government's environmental protections.

Coming one week into a government shutdown, and in the lull between Christmas and New Year, "this low-key announcement shouldn't fool anyone—it is a big deal, with significant implications," McCabe said.


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Dec 29, 2018
To remove regulation controlling the emissions of mercury for coal-fired electrical plants is the sickest action taken by EPA administration to date. I've been shocked by a lot of things that have resulted from the Republican assault the environment, but the mass poisoning of millions is borderline criminal. I can only imagine the lawsuits that will occur against the power plants if they don't apply mercury abatement and filtration to the exhaust of coal-fired plants.

Dec 29, 2018
More mercury. Oh neat. Maybe we can have more lead soon.

Dec 29, 2018
Careful DS. Remember, the altright fairytails ain't two brite! They all gonna think your suggesting lead bullets!

Dec 30, 2018
Making america great again, like the good old times. Can we bring back smallpox next?

Dec 30, 2018
Thats on the Southern border Amoeboid .. Wait for it..

Dec 30, 2018
Maybe it'd be OK if there were some nuclear reactor meltdowns. /s

These people are maniacs.

Dec 31, 2018
To remove regulation controlling the emissions of mercury for coal-fired electrical plants is the sickest action taken by EPA administration to date. I've been shocked by a lot of things that have resulted from the Republican assault the environment, but the mass poisoning of millions is borderline criminal. I can only imagine the lawsuits that will occur against the power plants if they don't apply mercury abatement and filtration to the exhaust of coal-fired plants.


When you vote for the Republican party of death and corruption you get more death and corruption.

Dec 31, 2018
Making america great again, like the good old times. Can we bring back smallpox next?


Yes, absolutely. Give them time. Just keep electing Republicans.

Dec 31, 2018
More mercury. Oh neat. Maybe we can have more lead soon.


Oh come on now. Lead is plant food, and it's time to start burning Cleeeeeeeean Coal.

Dec 31, 2018
"but the mass poisoning of millions is borderline criminal. "

Who cares? Only the inferior class is going to be poisoned and not the superior ruling class whom the inferior classes elected.

Besides. Mercury is good for you. There is no scientific evidence that mercury is harmful. Don't fall for the anti-mercury, anti-scientific, communist scam.


Dec 31, 2018
Mercury is a trace element in the Earth's crust. Hence it can't be poisonous.

Mercury is natural so it can't be a pollutant.

Freedooooooooom!!!!!!!!

The attack on Mercury is just a commie plot by the worlds scientists to establish a global, socialist, one world, Communist government as outlined by Q-Anon.

Dec 31, 2018
Funny but I cant find any studies which show deleterious effects from mercury produced by coal-fired plants, or of how reducing mercury emissions per obama regulations corrects or even affects health. Anybody know of such studies?

All I can find is horror stories about minamata, and studies about workers exposed for years at levels magnitudes above the normal environment.

Anybody? Anybody at all?

This wouldn't be another one of those idiot regulations designed to drive coal plants out of business would it?

I mean, perhaps that is a good idea but using phony feel-good regs that cant be backed up with credible data is a very bad idea dont you think?

Dec 31, 2018
Thats on the Southern border Amoeboid .. Wait for it..


Smallpox on the southern border?

The last known natural case was in Somalia in 1977. Since then, the only known cases were caused by a laboratory accident in 1978 in Birmingham, England, which killed one person and caused a limited outbreak. Smallpox was officially declared eradicated in 1979.
https://www.who.i.../faq/en/

Dec 31, 2018
"Funny but I cant find any studies which show deleterious effects from mercury produced by coal-fired
plants,"

That is because you haven't looked.

For Republicans, keeping themselves ignorant is Job #1.

Jan 01, 2019
Scott Nudds - master baiter. Sorry no sale.

Jan 01, 2019
Who did the study which shows how the neurological damage from mercury leads to conservatism?

Or it just common knowledge?

Jan 21, 2019
Who did the study which shows how the neurological damage from mercury leads to conservatism?
Sounds like something the Kenyan would come up with.

Or it just common knowledge?
Nope, just socialist agiprop.

Feb 02, 2019
@Forum.

Be aware of the latest Russian/GOP/Fossil lobby/troll-factories troll called @montanaclass. It is obvious and pathetic. Can't those troll factories/lobbyists afford better trolls nowadays? This latest one is particularly 'monomaniacal' insofar as it is here solely to promulgate the troll-factory memes re "the Kenyan" and 'socialists' etc. Even @Uncle Ira's bot-voting and trolling idiocy is (comparatively speaking only, you understand) more engaging/intelligent than what issues from this paid-for Johnny-come-late Russian/GOP/Fossil troll. They are scraping the bottom of the barrel, folks; else it is a cheap-and-nasty' limited-programmed 'chat-bot' because they couldn't afford any better; or someone is 'skimming' from the troll-factory budget (charging their masters full whack for this patently less-than-useless bot and pocketing the difference). Not only are these types stupid, but also too greedy for their own good. Sad.

Feb 02, 2019
@Uncle Ira's bot-voting and trolling idiocy
Why you want to make me the miserie here where I never even wrote a message yet? Begging for my attentions Cher?

Feb 02, 2019
@Uncle Ira.
Why you want to make me the miserie here where I never even wrote a message yet? Begging for my attentions Cher?
What is it about "bot-voting" idiocy you fail to grasp, mate? And your recent trolling/insulting post in another thread classifies as "trolling" idiocy, Ira. If that is all you have to say about the reality regarding yourself/your actions, Ira, then I take back what I said about you being:
...(comparatively speaking only, you understand) more engaging/intelligent than what issues from this paid-for Johnny-come-late Russian/GOP/Fossil troll" [ie, @montanaclass]
You are obviously on a par with that troll/bot, if your above whining twittery to the reality of your 'case' is any guide, Ira. And your "attention" is the last thing any poster (ie, me), who has been increasingly confirmed correct all along on many fronts by recent mainstream discovery/reviews, would seek. It's you trying to get my attention by bot-voting/trolling, Ira. :)

Feb 02, 2019
I told you before Cher, everybody gets a vote, even me. I can vote anyway I want to do it and you should not complain for me using it. Maybe you should complain to the nice peoples at the physorg since they are the ones who authorized me to vote.

Feb 02, 2019
@Uncle Ira.
I told you before Cher, everybody gets a vote, even me. I can vote anyway I want to do it and you should not complain for me using it. Maybe you should complain to the nice peoples at the physorg since they are the ones who authorized me to vote.
And I told you before that your bot-voting '1's, against posts/posters DESPITE their correctness, is what TROLLS do. So just because you CAN vote, the fact you choose to ABUSE that privilege, by BOT-voting/trolling, is all down to you, Ira. It demonstrates you're a bot-voting/trolling nincompoop trying to get attention from me; and trying to curry favor and '5's from other troll types who are complicit and/or encourage your bot-voting/trolling idiocy because it suits their own agendas. The fact your industrial-strength stupidity/malignancy prevents you from correcting yourself instead of still abusing your PO privileges, tells intelligent PO readers your upbringing/character was/is tragically bad. Sad.

Feb 02, 2019
Well okay, no problem,,just don't do it anymore. Maybe some other troll/bot/gang will come along to fool around with you some more. I am going to watch a couple of my Leverage videos before I have to get to work.

Feb 02, 2019
@Uncle Ira.
Well okay, no problem,,just don't do it anymore. Maybe some other troll/bot/gang will come along to fool around with you some more. I am going to watch a couple of my Leverage videos before I have to get to work.
Your apology accepted, Ira. :)

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